US Republicans grow more diverse in newly won House seats

Women and minorities predominate among Republican winners in 2020 House elections that trimmed Democratic control.

Burgess Owens is one of several minority or female Republicans who defeated incumbent Democrats on Election Day [Rick Bowmer/AP Photo]

Republicans cut the Democratic Party’s margin of majority control in half in the United States House of Representatives in the November 3 election and did it with a diverse field of women and minority candidates.

While Democrats remain in charge, Republicans have secured 207 seats in the House, up from 201 prior to the election. They will likely gain yet more as votes are still being counted in six races.

All 11 Republicans who beat incumbent Democrats so far are women or minorities. That is not the norm for a Republican Party that has long been mostly represented by white males.

As many as half of the incoming Republican freshmen class of about 40 new members will be women or minorities. They will likely double the number of women Republicans from 15 presently.

“It will be the most diverse class we have ever had,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said at a news conference.

“Many have already dubbed this year, the year of the Republican woman. And it couldn’t be truer from that statement. We are poised to have 29 House Republican women join our ranks, surpassing the previous record,” McCarthy told reporters.

“Every Democrat incumbent who lost, either lost to a woman, minority, or a veteran Republican,” he said.

Credit for recruitment of Republican women candidates is given to Representative Elise Stefanik, who emerged as a Republican star during the House impeachment of President Donald Trump in 2019.

Stefanik, who worked to recruit and finance women candidates in 2020, predicted in a tweet that Republican women would make even greater gains in the next election two years away.

Here is a look at Republican women and minority winners called by The Associated Press so far:

Retired National Football League player Burgess Owens, an African American man, defeated an incumbent Democrat in Utah’s 4th congressional district.

Owens was a member of the 1980 Super Bowl champion Oakland Raiders football team. He is likely to be the only African American among House Republicans next year.

Two Korean-American women, Michelle Steel and Young Kim, defeated incumbent Democrats in California’s conservative stronghold of Orange County.

In California’s farm country of the San Joaquin Valley, David Valadao, whose parents are Portuguese immigrants, defeated Democratic incumbent TJ Cox.

Cherokee Nation member Yvette Herrell, a Republican state representative who allied herself with President Donald Trump on immigration and gun rights, defeated incumbent Democrat Xochitl Torres Small in New Mexico’s 2nd district.

In New York City, Nicole Malliotakis, a daughter of Greek and Cuban immigrants, won election from the boroughs of Brooklyn and Staten Island.

Cuban immigrant Carlos Gimenez and daughter of Cuban exiles Maria Salazar, both Republicans, won against Democrats in South Florida.

Salazar defeated Donna Shalala, a prominent Democrat who had served as chief executive of the Clinton Foundation and a former Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton.

Nancy Mace, who was the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, the predominately male military college in South Carolina, defeated a Democratic incumbent in Charleston, an area Trump had won in 2016.

Oklahoma state senator Stephanie Bice knocked off vulnerable Democrat Kendra Horn in Oklahoma, giving Republicans a sweep of congressional seats in the state.

In rural northern Minnesota, one of the lions of House Democrats, Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson was defeated by Michelle Fischbach, a former lieutenant governor of the state.

Iowa Republican state legislator Ashley Hinson, a former television news anchor, defeated Democratic congresswoman Abby Finkenauer in the state’s 1st district.

Source: Al Jazeera