Election results reflect diversity
11/10/2022, 6 p.m.
The horse race between Democrats and Republicans for control of Congress is attracting the most attention in the wake of Tuesday’s midterm election.
But one takeaway we’re enthusiastic about is the history-making that has taken place, notably for Black candidates, but also for white women, Latinos and others who also achieved unprecedented success.
For example, Maryland elected its first Black governor and first Black attorney general, while Pennsylvania elected its first Black lieutenant governor and its first Black female representative to Congress.
And a Florida congressional district has elected a 25-year-old Black man with Haitian and Puerto Rican roots, who will be the youngest representative in Congress.
With all the discussion about the attack on democracy, these results allow us to take heart about the future of our changing country.
We hope that Justice Clarence Thomas takes note, too. He recently said he didn’t get the meaning of diversity. Well, these results are what it looks like, Mr. Justice.
Among the results we celebrate is the election of Westley W.O. “Wes” Moore, 44, as the next Maryland governor. Sensible voters enabled Mr. Moore to easily defeat a Donald Trump-endorsed archconservative Republican by a whopping, though unofficial, 23-point margin.
An author and former Army captain who previously led a New York nonprofit, Mr. Moore campaigned on eliminating child poverty and protecting women’s abortion rights.
When he takes office next year, he will be just the third elected Black governor of a state, with L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia being the first and Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts being the second.
Mr. Moore ran with two other history-makers— U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, now the first Black person to win election as Maryland’s attorney general, and Aruna Miller, an Indian-American who will be the first immigrant to serve as lieutenant governor in the Free State.
And we are excited that Florida Democrat Maxwell A. Frost is headed to Congress after defeating Black Republican Calvin Wimbish in the race to replace Rep. Val Demings as the representative for Florida’s 10th Congressional District in the Orlando area.
After his victory, Mr. Frost, a political organizer, quipped that the U.S. Constitution requires representatives to be 25, “so I’m right on time.”
Separately, Democrat Austin Davis prevailed in Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor’s race and will be the first Black person to serve in that post. And Democrat Summer Lee deserves a “wow,” as well. She is on track to be the first Black woman from Pennsylvania to serve in the U.S. House after winning in the state’s 12th Congressional District.
Black candidates also were featured in Senate races in several battleground states were considered key in the fight for control of the Senate.
In Georgia, incumbent Black Democratic Sen. Ralph Warnock, a pastor, appears to have defeated Black Republican challenger Herschel Walker, but they must face-off again in a runoff election on Tuesday, Dec. 6, because a third candidate siphoned off enough votes to keep Sen. Warnock from winning outright.
In Florida, Rep. Demings, a former Orlando police chief who gave up her House seat to challenge Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, lost, as did Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, who challenged incumbent Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, although it was oh so very close.
Black women for the first time did win the office of secretary of state both in California and Connecticut and will oversee elections for those two states.
Meanwhile, California also elected its first Latino senator and its first Filipino-American attorney general.
White women did well, too. Alabama elected a woman to the U.S. Senate for the first time while Arkansas, Massachusetts and New York elected their first female governors.
Arkansas and Massachusetts also elected their first female lieutenant governors and are the first states poised to have women serving concurrently in both offices.
Maura Healy, the Massachusetts attorney general who won the governor’s race, also will be the first openly lesbian person to serve as a state’s elected chief executive.
Hopefully, these are signs that the American promise that “all men (and women) are created equal” still embodies some truth amid the sharp political divisions of our era.