US midterms: The candidates making headlines and history

Maura Healey. Pic: AP

The 2022 US midterm elections have witnessed a progressive revolution – with some candidates making history.

Maura Healey. Pic: AP
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Maura Healey is America’s first lesbian governor. Pic: AP

Maura Healey

The Democratic attorney general for Massachusetts has been elected governor of the state.

The 51-year-old has made history as the nation’s first openly lesbian governor and the state’s first woman and openly gay candidate elected to the office.

She defeated Republican Geoff Diehl, a former state representative who had the endorsement of Donald Trump.

“Tonight I want to say something to every little girl and every young LGBTQ person out there. I hope tonight shows you that you can be whatever, whoever you want to be and nothing and no one can ever get in your way except your own imagination,” she said in her victory speech.

Ms Healey is not the first woman to serve in the office. Republican Jane Swift, then lieutenant governor, became acting governor in 2001 when Paul Cellucci resigned to become ambassador to Canada – but she was never elected governor.

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Maxwell Frost. Pic: AP
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25-year-old Maxwell Frost has become the first Generation Z member elected to Congress. Pic: AP

Maxwell Frost

The Democrat has become the first member of Generation Z to win a seat in Congress.

The 25-year-old Afro-Cuban gun reform activist, whose campaign also focused on abortion rights, beat Republican Calvin Wimbish, a 72-year-old retired US Army Green Beret.

He won Florida’s Orlando-based 10th Congressional District seat, which contains attractions such as Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort.

“WE WON!!!! History was made tonight. We made history for Floridians, for Gen Z, and for everyone who believes we deserve a better future,” he tweeted. “I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to represent my home in the United States Congress.”

American politics data analyst Pew Research Centre defines Generation Z as anyone born from 1997 onward, with Millennials born between 1981 and 1996.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Pic: AP
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Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been elected as Arkansas’s first woman governor. Pic: AP

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Republican Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was Donald Trump’s White House press secretary, has been elected as Arkansas’s first woman governor.

The 40-year-old defeated Democratic nominee Chris Jones – an ordained Baptist minister and nuclear engineer who had presented himself to voters as a more unifying figure – in the race for governor in her predominantly Republican home state, where former president Mr Trump remains popular.

Mr Trump publicly encouraged her to run for governor when she left the White House in 2019 to return to Arkansas.

Ms Sanders briefly left the campaign trail in September after undergoing surgery for thyroid cancer. Her doctor said she was cancer free after the surgery.

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Democrat Wes Moore. Pic: AP
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Democrat Wes Moore is Maryland’s first black governor. Pic: AP

Wes Moore

In Maryland, a state where 31% of the population is black, Democrat Wes Moore has become the state’s first African American to win an election for governor.

The 44-year-old author, who was backed by former president Barack Obama and TV talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, beat his Republican opponent Dan Cox.

“It’s not lost on me that I’ve made a little history myself here tonight,” he told his supporters.

“I am humbled to be a part of this legacy… That’s not why we got into this race. The history that matters most to us is the history that we – and the people of this state – are going to make together over the next four years.”

John Fetterman 'flipped' Pennsylvania by winning the state's contest for senator
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John Fetterman ‘flipped’ Pennsylvania by winning the state’s contest for senator

John Fetterman

In a critical win for President Joe Biden‘s party, the Democrat flipped a Republican-held Senate seat in Pennsylvania, beating Republican celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz and bolstering his party’s chances of holding the chamber.

For the 53-year-old – the state’s lieutenant governor best known for preferring hoodies over suit jackets – the win was a personal triumph after suffering a stroke earlier this year.

His opponent, the TV physician who was Mr Trump’s hand-picked candidate for the race, had questioned his fitness for office.

Speaking at his election night event in Pittsburgh, Mr Fetterman said: “This race is for the future of every community all across Pennsylvania. For every small town or person that ever felt left behind.”

New York Governor Kathy Hochul celebrates
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New York Governor Kathy Hochul celebrates

Kathy Hochul

The 64-year-old has made history by becoming the first woman elected New York governor – after taking the reigns when former governor Andrew Cuomo resigned over sexual harassment allegations in 2021.

She has now won the office outright – defeating Republican Lee Zeldin after a closer-than-expected contest.

Ms Hochul appeared at a rally days before the election with Vice President Kamala Harris, the first woman to be elected to the country’s second-highest office, and Hillary Clinton, the first woman to be a major party’s presidential nominee and New York’s first female senator.

“Tonight you made your voices heard loud and clear,” she told her supporters. “And, you made me the first woman ever elected to be the governor of the state of New York. But I’m not here to make history, I’m here to make a difference.”

Delia Ramirez. Pic: Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register/USA Today Network/via Reuters
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Delia Ramirez. Pic: Justin L. Fowler/The State Journal-Register/USA Today Network/via Reuters

Delia Ramirez

Democratic state Representative Delia Ramirez has become the first Latina elected to Congress from Illinois.

The 39-year-old defeated Republican Justin Burau.

“We just made history tonight,” she told her supporters. “We broke a glass ceiling.”

“I am proud to be serving as your next congresswoman.”

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