As polls closed late Tuesday, states throughout the country saw a range of candidates of color racking up election wins in historic results.
The gains ranged from mayoral elections to state offices, in many cases the first time such posts have been won by people of color or candidates from marginalized communities.
Here’s a rundown of the winners:
Virginia’s next lieutenant governor makes history
Republican Winsome Sears, a former delegate in the Virginia State Assembly, won a historic victory to be the state’s next lieutenant governor. She will not only be the first woman of color to hold that post, she will be the first Black woman to hold statewide office.
In a previous interview with USA TODAY, Sears emphasized that her priority was not so much making history as it was governance.
“So I make history. So what? It’s done,” Sears told USA TODAY in an interview. “And now what the people want to know is, how are you going to govern? What are your policies? What are your issues? How are you going to serve us? Because that’s what this is about.”
The lieutenant governor post is widely seen as a launching pad to the governorship. No state has ever elected a Black woman to its highest office.
Wu beats George for top spot in Boston
City council member Michelle Wu, 36, won the mayoral race in Boston after fellow Democrat Annissa Essaibi George conceded. Wu gained 63.6% of votes compared to 36% for George, according to WBUR News.
Wu is the first woman and person of color elected to the post. Acting mayor of Boston, Kim Janey, a Black woman, was appointed after previously elected Mayor Marty Walsh stepped down to become U.S. secretary of labor under President Joe Biden.
Wu grew up in Chicago and her parents immigrated from Taiwan. A Harvard Law graduate, she is a former protégé of liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Wu had served in the Boston city council since 2014.
Wu had the backing of Warren, Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass, and Mayor Janey during the campaign.
She clashed with her opponent George on a number of issues, including affordable housing, public education, transportation, crime and policing reform. Before running for mayor, Wu joined other city council members in calling for a 10% cut to the police department’s budget.
Eric Adams wins NYC mayoral election, Alvin Bragg elected first Black Manhattan DA
Retired police officer Eric Adams defeated underdog Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa Tuesday to become the second Black mayor in the history of New York City. The newly elected mayor promised to reflect needs of working and middle-class voters of color.
Former federal prosecutor Alvin Bragg will become the first Black person to lead the Manhattan district attorney’s office after his win over Republican opponent, Thomas Kenniff.
The Manhattan DA handles tens of thousands of cases per year, according to the New York Times. Bragg will soon be in charge of the high-profile investigation into former President Donald Trump and his family business.
Ed Gainey takes Pittsburgh mayoral race
Democratic state Rep. Ed Gainey served five terms in the Pennsylvania state House before deciding to run for mayor of Pittsburgh. Protests following the murder of Minneapolis man George Floyd while in police custody in May 2020 inspired him, Gainey said.
Gainey was the first candidate to defeat a sitting mayor in nearly 90 years, fellow Democrat Bill Peduto, in a primary, according to The Washington Post.
Jason Miyares Virginia’s first Cuban American attorney general
Republican delegate Jason Miyares appeared to defeat Democratic opponent and current attorney general of Virginia Mark Herring Tuesday to become the first Cuban to fill the post.
The election was a major upset. A former criminal prosecutor, Miyares, 45, was not well known outside of his Virginia Beach district. He campaigned on a tough-on-crime platform while also promoting liberal causes like abortion access, gun control and same-sex marriage, according to The Washington Post.
Aftab Pureval becomes first Asian mayor of Cincinnati
Aftab Pureval, 39, beat fellow Democratic opponent and longtime Cincinnati politician David Mann Tuesday by a clear majority. Pureval, the Hamilton County clerk of courts, triumphed with 66% of the vote.
Mann conceded at 10 p.m., Cincinnati newspaper The Enquirer, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported.
The child of immigrants, Pureval ran on a platform of change and “fresh ideas” for City Hall.
Abdullah Hammoud elected first Arab American mayor of city with concentrated Arab population
State legislator Abdullah Hammoud, 31, beat 66-year-old former state representative Gary Woronchak in the Dearborn, Michigan, mayoral election Tuesday. Hammoud won with 54.6% of the vote to 45%, according to the Detroit Free Press, part of the USA TODAY Network.
Hammoud is the first Arab American mayor in a city known for its sizable Arab population. He campaigned on tackling infrastructure issues, like the problem of flooding, throughout the city.
Source: USA Today
Featured Image: Eric Adams