12 Historic Wins in Last Night's Elections | Sojourners

12 Historic Wins in Last Night's Elections

The 2018 midterm elections won’t happen for another year, but last night’s state and local races made resounding history across the board. All eyes were on the Virginia gubernatorial race, as Democratic candidate Ralph Northam and Republican candidate Ed Gillespie campaigned over the damages or merits of President Trump’s one-year tenure in office. But it was other Virginia state appointments, as well as house races and ballot initiatives in five other states (New Jersey, New York, Maine, Ohio, and a special election in Utah), that made the biggest splash.

From Virginia’s first-ever Latina state representatives to the first-ever open transgender elected official in U.S. state legislature, here are 12 ways last night made justice — and history — in our government.

In Virginia:

  1. Justin Fairfax is Virginia’s new lieutenant governor. He is the second African-American man elected to Virginia statewide office since the Civil War.
  2. Kathy Tran became the first Asian-American woman elected to Virginia’s state house.
  3. Elizabeth Guzman and Hala Ayala were elected Virginia’s first-ever Latina state representatives.
  4. Danica Roem became the first openly transgender official elected to a state legislature in the United States.
  5. Chris Hurst was the boyfriend of television reporter Alison Parker, shot and killed on-air in 2015. Hurst won his first-ever race in rural Virginia, unseating a heavily NRA-backed candidate.


  1. In Minneapolis, Minn., Andrea Jenkins (city council) became the first openly transgender woman of color elected to public office.
  2. In Helena, Mont., Wilmot Collins became Montana’s first black mayor. He is a former refugee from Liberia.
  3. In Hoboken, N.J., Ravinder S. Bhalla became the city’s first Sikh mayor.‏
  4. Also in New Jersey, Sheila Oliver was elected the state’s first black lieutenant governor.
  5. In Framingham, Mass., Yvonne Spicer became the town’s first-ever mayor.
  6. Maine became the first state to expanded Medicaid by ballot initiative.
  7. And six other cities elected African-American mayors for the first time:

    Jonathan McCollar (Statesboro, Ga.)

    Brendan Barber (Georgetown, S.C.)

    Mary Parham Copelan (Milledgeville, Ga.)

    Booker Gainor (Cairo, Ga.)

    Melvin Carter (St. Paul, Minn.)

    Vi Lyles (Charlotte, N.C.)