CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire will send four female Democrats to Washington next year, achieving another first in a state known for electing women.
Carol Shea-Porter defeated Republican incumbent Frank Guinta in the 1st Congressional District on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster survived a challenge from Republican Jim Lawrence in the 2nd Congressional District, and Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan ousted Republican U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte. New Hampshire’s other U.S. senator, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, wasn’t up for election.
The results mean New Hampshire will have the nation’s first all-female, all-Democratic congressional delegation.
“I think it’s a big deal. I think what we need in Washington is more people with the skills to bring people together,” Kuster said. “Look, if you can raise toddlers and deal with teenagers, you can deal with Republicans and Democrats in the United States Congress, and that’s something we have the skills for and look forward to putting to work for the people of New Hampshire.”
According to the Center for Women and American Politics, 104 women will serve in the next Congress: 21 in the Senate and 83 in the House. Congress currently has 76 Democrat and 28 Republican women. The new party breakdown will be 78 Democrats and 26 Republicans.
In 1999, New Hampshire became the first state to have a female governor, Senate president and House speaker at the same time. Ten years later, it became the first state to have a female majority in its state Senate. In 2013, it became the first state to have an all-female congressional delegation, though that distinction only lasted two years. Shaheen was the first woman in the country to serve as both governor and U.S. Senator — Hassan will be the second.
“I am honored to be elected to the United States Senate, and I’m going to be very proud to serve with Jeanne Shaheen,” Hassan said Wednesday.
During the presidential race, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s comments about women, including in a 2005 recording in which he bragged about using fame to force himself on them, prompted Kuster to talk publicly about being sexually assaulted as a young Capitol Hill staffer. On Wednesday, she called New Hampshire’s Democratic sweep in the congressional races a “historic and bright light” for Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans across the country, but said she also respects the results of the presidential race.
“Nov. 9 is the day to come together and help the country heal and move forward together,” she said.
Shea-Porter, who became the first woman elected to Congress from New Hampshire in 2006, beat Guinta on Tuesday in their fourth match-up. She said the U.S. must work together to heal the divide from the bitter race between Trump, now the president-elect, and his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.
“Our country has just endured a difficult campaign, but we must move forward together and work with each other to restore the American Dream,” she said. “I am grateful to the voters of New Hampshire’s First District for electing me again to serve the good people of our district. Since the beginning, I’ve worked to represent ‘The Rest of Us.’ That was our message during this campaign, and I am looking forward to working for the rest of us in Congress.