Although votes are still being counted, early confirmed highs from the 2022 midterm election include the serious arrival of Gen Z.
UPDATE: After this story was filed, Tina Kotek of Oregon joined Maura Healey of Massachusetts as the first two openly lesbian governors-elect in the US.
Democrat Maura Healey is projected to be the first female governor of Massachusetts and the nation’s first openly lesbian state executive. Maryland elected its first black governor, Democrat Wes Moore. The first member of Gen Z is headed for the House of Representatives, and several states affirmed abortion rights.
These long-overdue historic feats are just some of the high points of the 2022 midterm elections.
Hot Girls Vote
There is a popular narrative that young people do not vote. Some claim they are less politically engaged and others say they are too self-involved to care but there has been extensive research on the potential power of the youth vote.
Youth voting organization NextGen America tapped into the projected influence Gen Z is likely to have on politics.
NextGen’s Hot Girls Vote is a parody of the “Hot Girl” social media trend started by rapper Megan Thee Stallion. After releasing Hot Girl Summer in 2019, the hip-hop artist began to heavily promote the “hot girl” lifestyle.
This grew into several TikTok trends including “hot girl walks” and “hot girl things.”
“Hot Girls of all backgrounds, sexualities, and gender identities are voting to show their power and change their communities for the better,” said NextGen about the voting initiative. “And that’s hot.”
Though too soon for exact numbers, the youth vote has already created a noticeable boost to Democratic candidates around the country. Perhaps targeted youth messaging is the key to a progressive wave.
A big blue win in the Senate
Pennsylvania’s Senate race has been a major talking point throughout this voting season because of the obscene amount of money spent on it.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported Dr. Mehmet Oz spent nearly $27 million on his campaign only to lose to Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman for US Senator.
The Senate race remains a close with several key races remaining uncalled, including the Georgia run-off.
Stand up for abortion rights
The Supreme Court’s June decision to reverse Roe v. Wade motivated many voters to side with Democrats in favor of abortion rights.
In Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer focused her reelection campaign on her successful efforts to block the enforcement of the state’s 1931 law banning abortion in almost all instances. She defeated Republican challenger Tudor Dixon.
Voters in California and Vermont approved constitutional amendments protecting abortion rights.
According to CNN exit polls, 27% of voters in House races said abortion was the most important issue – second only to inflation at 31%. Among those who cited abortion as the most important issue, 76% voted Democratic.
Gen Z in the House
Generation Z—famously progressive and secular—has so far been almost entirely unrepresented in US national politics for a simple reason: their advancing wave is only now beginning to cross the age minimum for office.
A US president must be at least 35. The minimum age to serve in the US Senate is 30. Members of the House must be at least 25.
The oldest members of Generation Z just turned 27.
Projections from NBC are now showing community organizer Maxwell Frost, 25, winning his Florida race for Congress on Tuesday, making him the first member of Generation Z to reach the House of Representatives.
Frost beat Republican Calvin Wimbish, a retired 72-year-old Army Green Beret, to take the Orlando-based 10th Congressional District seat.
The Gen Z Democrat worked as the national organizing director for March for Our Lives, an anti-gun violence group that emerged from the Parkland massacre, and has made gun violence a focal point of his campaign.
Frost was heavily favored to win the deep blue district. With 72% of votes counted, he led Wimbish 58.8% to 39.7%.
Thirty-six hours after the last polls closed, many key races have yet to be called. This is a developing story.