Muslim women and refugees won historic victories across the US in Tuesday’s elections

Virginia State Sen-elect, Ghazala Hashmi speaks to supporters at a Democratic victory party in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. Steve Helber/AP

The 2018 midterm elections saw voters elect a record number of women to the House of Representatives, with a number of individual candidates achieving historic firsts with their victories.

That trend continued in many ways on Tuesday, as women and minorities – including Muslim women and refugees – won historic victories in state and local elections across the country.

These victories come after a summer in which President Donald Trump repeatedly attacked women of colour serving in Congress, including those who won historic victories last year. Trump’s rhetoric toward Muslims and on racial issues has long been controversial and even ventured into outright racism.

  • Democrat Ghazala Hashmi became the first Muslim woman elected to the Virginia state Senate. She unseated Virginia state Sen. Glen Sturtevant.
  • Democrat Abrar Omeish, 24, joined Hashmi as one of the first Muslim women to hold elected office in Virginia’s history by winning her race for one of three vacant seats on the Fairfax County School Board. She’s also the youngest woman in the state’s history to hold elected office.
  • Virginia’s General Assembly also now has the highest number of women in the history of the state. Women will hold 41 out of 140 seats in Virginia’s state legislature.
  • Nadia Mohamad, 23, became the first Muslim woman and first Somali-American elected to the city council in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. She fled conflict in Somalia as a young girl.
  • Democrat Safiya Khalid, 23, who came to the US as a refugee from Somalia, became the first Somali-American elected to the Lewiston City Council in Lewistown, Maine.
  • Democrat Chol Majok became the first refugee elected to public office in Syracuse, New York. Majok, 34, ran unchallenged to win Syracuse’s 3rd District Common Council seat.
  • Voters in Boston ushered in a historic level of diversity on Tuesday. Boston’s city council will have a female majority for the first time in its history (eight out of 13 members), and more minorities than ever (seven out of thirteen members).
  • Monique Owens became the first black person ever to be elected mayor of Eastpointe, Michigan.
  • Republican Daniel Cameron became the first black person to be elected as attorney general of Kentucky. He’s a former legal counsel for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.