As November quickly approaches, so do the 2022 midterm elections. This year’s races will introduce Americans to boundary-breaking candidates up and down the ballot. If elected, many will reach historic milestones at the state and even national levels.
Record numbers of women are
running for governor this year, and more Black women are running for governor and Congress than ever before, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. If gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams can eke out a win in Georgia, she’d become the first Black woman elected to the office. This year’s pool of LGBTQ+ congressional candidates is also more diverse than ever — 41% identify as people of color, which is a 57.7% increase from the 2020 election cycle.
Below, find more information about 11 candidates who’ll make history if they win on Nov. 8. They represent communities from across America, and their elections could influence everything from state legislation to which party controls Congress.
Derek White/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images Democrat, running for Georgia Governor
If elected, Abrams will be the first Black female governor in the country. She became a household name in her 2018 run against Republican Gov. Brian Kemp,
losing by 54,723 votes and setting up this 2022 rematch. Her policy goals include revitalizing rural communities with clean energy jobs, undoing the state’s six-week abortion ban, and repealing Georgia’s 2014 “guns everywhere” law, which allows licensed gun owners to bring guns to bars and some government buildings. Politico projects that the race currently leans toward Kemp. Courtesy of Lorena Austin Courtesy of Lori Chavez-DeRemer Republican, running for U.S. House of Representatives
If Chavez-DeRemer wins, she’d be the
first Latina to represent Oregon in Congress. She’s running for Oregon’s 5th Congressional District, having served as mayor of Happy Valley (a real city!) from 2010 to 2018. Her campaign prioritizes border security, increased police funding, and a ban on critical race theory in schools. Oregon’s considers her race, against Democratic opponent Jamie McLeod-Skinner, a toss-up. Statesman Journal The Washington Post/The Washington Post/Getty Images Democrat, running for U.S. Senate
Demings is running to be the first Black woman from Florida in the U.S. Senate (and the first Black woman in the chamber since Kamala Harris’ departure). She’s running against a Republican incumbent, Sen. Marco Rubio, who’s held the position for over a decade. Since 2017, Demings has served as the U.S. representative for Florida’s
10th Congressional District, and has fought for increased law enforcement funding, safe abortion access, and small business pandemic relief funds. FiveThirtyEight reports that Demings, a former police chief, is currently about 5 percentage points behind Rubio. Democrat, running for Minnesota State House of Representatives
If Finke is elected to the Minnesota House, she’d be the
first trans lawmaker in the state’s legislature. With a background in video production, she describes herself as a “committed advocate for LGBTQ equality and abortion rights.” She’s running to represent Minnesota Legislative District 66A, which covers several St. Paul neighborhoods. If elected, she’d prioritize anti-racism in policymaking, access to safe abortions, and a statewide Equal Rights Amendment for LGBTQ+ residents. According to the Minnesota’s Pioneer Press, her district is “ overwhelmingly Democratic,” so she’s poised to win. Courtesy of Karoline Leavitt Republican, running for U.S. House of Representatives
Leavitt, who’s 25, could be one of the first Gen Z lawmakers. She’s running for New Hampshire’s
1st Congressional District in the U.S. House, and hopes to lower taxes, codify the anti-abortion Hyde Amendment, and draft zero-tolerance legislation for undocumented immigrants. She’s a former assistant press secretary to President Donald Trump, and is running against incumbent Democrat Rep. Chris Pappas. An October poll from the Saint Anselm College Survey Center placed her 8 points behind Pappas. Democrat, running for U.S. House of Representatives
Lee is running to represent Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District in the U.S. House, which would make her the
first Black woman elected to Congress from Pennsylvania. Since 2018, she’s served the state’s 34th Legislative District in the state’s House of Representatives. She hopes to challenge mandatory minimum sentencing laws, restore the federal right to abortion, and implement Medicare for All. In May 2022, Politico reported that she’s likely to win. Boston Globe/Boston Globe/Getty Images Democrat, running for Massachusetts Governor
If Healey wins, which she’s currently
projected to do, she’ll become the first lesbian governor in U.S. history. (She could be joined by Oregon gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek.) In 2015, she became the nation’s first gay attorney general, a role she still holds. Her campaign goals include preserving abortion rights and implementing a multi-step plan to fight climate change, featuring a cabinet-level climate chief who’d ensure environmental issues are considered in “all relevant decision-making.” Democrat, running for Michigan State House of Representatives
Hoskins is a current city council member in Southfield, Michigan, and could be the
first LGBTQ+ person of color in the state’s legislature. He’s running for Michigan’s 18th Legislative District, with campaign objectives like tuition reimbursement for teachers, red-flag gun laws that allow courts to temporarily remove firearms from individuals, and repealing retirement pension taxes. As Ballotpedia notes, the cities in Hoskins’ district are historically Democratic, making him likely to win. Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images Republican, running for Arkansas Governor
If elected, Sanders will become Arkansas’ first female governor. She rose to the national stage as a
White House press secretary during Trump’s presidency. According to a video outlining her policies, she’d advocate for Second Amendment rights, lower state income taxes, and fight against abortion access and the Green New Deal. This is her first time running for elected office, and outlets like and Politico FiveThirtyEight expect her to win. Courtesy of Eric Sorensen Democrat, running for U.S. House of Representatives
Following a two-decade career as a meteorologist, Sorensen could become the
first LGBTQ+ person elected to Congress from Illinois. He’s running to serve the state’s 17th Congressional District, with a campaign focused on teachers, environmentally-friendly jobs, and bipartisanship. His district’s residents have elected Democratic incumbent Cheri Bustos since 2012 (she’s retiring after this term), but local polls project the race as a toss-up between Sorensen and his Republican opponent, Esther Joy King.
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