There were many firsts leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, and results have proved that its one for the record books.
As Election Day 2018 has made its mark on history, so have the various candidates that claimed victory. The nation has seen more diversity in race, gender, religion and sexual orientation than ever before in modern history.
Despite divisive rhetoric and systematic barriers, these candidates defied the odds and won enough votes to govern the people who elected them.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, youngest congresswoman ever
New York activist and Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who turned 29 in October, was one of the 237 women running this year.
Ocasio-Cortez first shocked New York politicians when she defeated 10-term Rep. Joe Crowley in the Democratic congressional primary last spring. The Bronx native is now the youngest woman elected to Congress.
Jared Polis, first openly gay man elected governor
Democrat Jared Polis is the first openly gay man elected governor after defeating Republican Walker Stapleton in Colorado. Polis campaigned for a single-payer health care system, 100 percent renewable energy and full-day preschool and kindergarten. He’ll be replacing fellow Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper after his second term ends early next year.
Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, first Muslim women elected to Congress
As the nation’s first Somali-American state legislator, Ilhan Omar has made her mark on history again as the first Somali elected to Congress and one of its first Muslim women. Omar served a single term in the Minnesota legislature as a Democrat, and easily won Tuesday’s election for the Minneapolis-area congressional district being vacated by Rep. Keith Ellison.
Former state Rep. Rashida Tlaib will become the first Palestinian-American woman to be elected to Congress and one of two Muslim women elected to the U.S. House. She’ll be replacing Democrat Rep. John Conyers, who resigned from office 11 months ago and will be serving the Detroit area.
Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland, first Native American women elected to Congress
Kansas Democrat Sharice Davids and New Mexico Democrat Deb Haaland became the first Native American women elected to Congress. Haaland will be serving New Mexico’s 1st District. Davids also become the first openly LGBTQ person to represent the state of Kansas in Congress.
Veronica Escobar and Sylvia Garcia, Texas' first Latinas elected to Congress
Veronica Escobar has been elected as El Paso's first woman in Congress and joins Houston's Sylvia Garcia as Texas’ first Latinas elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, according to the El Paso Times.
USA TODAY and the Associated Press contributed to this story.