A record-breaking number of women is heading to Congress
As of Thursday afternoon, 131 women had won seats to the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
That surpasses the record of 127 set by the current Congress.
With numerous races featuring women too close to call as of Wednesday, the final number was likely to rise.
“Following the record-setting 2018 midterm elections, we’ve been cautiously optimistic that we were seeing the emergence of a new normal, rather than a one-time surge,” the center’s executive director Debbie Walsh said in a statement.
“With record levels of candidates and nominees in 2020, that optimism seems justified,” she added.
The 117th Congress will include at least 21 freshmen women members of the House — 13 Republicans and eight Democrats — according to the Rutgers center’s analysis.
They include Republican Nancy Mace, who was projected by the Associated Press to defeat Democratic incumbent Rep. Joe Cunningham.
“It’s not just Democratic women who are breaking barriers,” Mace said on “Fox & Friends” on Thursday. “Republican women are doing it all across the country this election year.”
Women elected to Congress this week included 47 people of color, one of them a Republican.
That candidate, Maria Elvira Salazar, defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala in Florida.
Republicans flipped a number of seats in the House, though Democrats were poised to maintain their majority.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) previously said she would seek to remain in her role if Dems stayed in power.