The 2022 midterms may be remembered mostly for a surprisingly good Democratic showing. But the elections also ushered in some politicians who achieved milestones at the state and federal levels and who may be fixtures for many years to come. From the first Gen Z-er in Congress to the first Black governor of Maryland, here are some of the rising stars who triumphed on Tuesday.
Gen Z officially has a representative in Congress. Maxwell Frost, the 25-year-old Democratic candidate in Florida’s Tenth Congressional District race, was declared the winner over opponent Calvin Wimbish. A progressive, Frost ran on Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, and an assault-weapons ban, drawing on his past work organizing with the March for Our Lives movement. He will succeed Congresswoman Val Demings, who left the Orlando-based seat to launch an unsuccessful challenge to Senator Marco Rubio.
Summer Lee, a state representative, was elected to Pennsylvania’s 12th District, becoming the first Black woman to represent the Keystone State in Congress. Lee faced Mike Doyle, a Republican who happened to share a name with a longtime Democratic congressman who announced his retirement from the district last year. The congresswoman-elect also contended with significant outside spending against her but ultimately emerged the winner.
After being declared the Democratic nominee in August, state senator Becca Balint was heavily favored to win Vermont’s sole U.S. House seat. With her victory Tuesday night, Balint put an end to an embarrassing chapter in the state’s political history. She becomes the first woman to be sent to represent Vermont in Congress — the last state to check off that particular box. Balint will also be Vermont’s first openly gay member. Congressman Peter Welch left the seat to run for the U.S. Senate, where he will replace Senator Patrick Leahy, the president pro tempore who is retiring at the end of the year after serving in the chamber since 1975.
State Attorney General Maura Healey won Massachusetts’s governor race and will succeed popular Republican Charlie Baker, who announced last year that he would not seek reelection. Healey will become the first woman to serve as governor of the state. She will also be among the first openly lesbian governors in the United States, sharing history with Tina Kotek in Oregon, who is also projected to win her highly competitive race.
Wes Moore defeated Dan Cox, a far-right member of Maryland’s House of Delegates, Tuesday night, becoming the state’s first Black governor and only the third Black governor in United States history. Moore is new to politics, previously working in the nonprofit sector and authoring several books.
Republican Katie Britt beat her Democratic opponent, Will Boyd, and will become the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama. Britt will succeed Senator Richard Shelby, whom she previously worked for as his chief of staff. At the age of 40, she will also be the youngest Republican woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.