A number of candidates made history on election night Tuesday. Here’s what you need to know about their historic wins:
Virginia lieutenant governor
CNN projects Winsome Sears to be Virginia’s lieutenant governor, making her the first female and the first woman of color in the office in the commonwealth’s 400-year legislative history.
“It’s a historic night — yes, it is — but I didn’t run to make history. I just wanted to leave it better than I found it,” Sears said before a crowd of supporters early Wednesday morning.
A conservative Republican, Sears will serve alongside Republican Glenn Youngkin, whom CNN projected would win the Virginia gubernatorial race.
Sears, who was born in Jamaica, is the first Black Republican woman to be elected to the Virginia General Assembly.
CNN projects Michelle Wu to be Boston’s next mayor. She’ll be the first woman and person of color elected to the top post in the city’s history.
“From every corner of our city, Boston has spoken. We are ready to meet this moment. We are ready to become a Boston for everyone,” Wu said to a crowd of supporters Tuesday night. “I want to be clear, it wasn’t my vision on the ballot, it was ours, together.”
City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George, also a woman of color, conceded the Boston mayoral race with a large share of the vote still waiting to be counted.
From the beginning, this election was a remarkable departure from Boston’s history. Uncontested mayoral races, where there is no incumbent seeking reelection, are hard to come by in Boston and often draw crowded primaries in the Democrat-heavy city. And in this year’s unaffiliated primary, every serious contender was a person of color, and most of them were women.
Championing hallmark policies like a Green New Deal for Boston, Wu racked up support from high-profile Massachusetts progressives, such as Rep. Ayanna Pressley, Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren. Pressley, who represents a portion of Boston, also served on the Boston City Council with both Wu and Essaibi George.
Wu ran on a progressive platform, including calling for a fare-free transit system.
Ed Gainey will be Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor, CNN projects.
Gainey, a Democrat, bested Republican Tony Moreno, a retired Pittsburgh police officer.
During the campaign, Gainey said he wanted to make Pittsburgh the country’s most “safe, affordable and diverse” city and touted police reform and affordable housing. He has represented Pittsburgh in the state legislature since 2013 and previously worked for Pittsburgh Mayors Luke Ravenstahl and Tom Murphy.
During an exchange over mayoral efforts to tackle violence in a recent debate, Gainey emphasized using a public health blueprint.
“The reality is, if it was that simple, it would be solved already,” Gainey said. “This is a real-life situation, and we will deal with it,”
In the Democratic primary, Gainey comfortably beat the current incumbent Mayor Bill Peduto in May — making him the first mayoral challenger to unseat an incumbent since 1933.