Republicans will take control of the U.S. House of Representatives in January with a majority that is both younger and more diverse than in years past.
Although Republicans fell far short of the much-predicted “red wave,” the party still flipped 21 seats held by Democrats on their way to the House majority this midterm cycle. Many of those victories were won by women and minorities.
In Texas, Rep.-elect Wesley Hunt won a newly drawn congressional seat based in the Houston suburbs. Hunt, a Black, 41-year-old former helicopter pilot, told G3 Box News Digital he was proud to be part of a new generation of conservative leadership.
“We took our freshman class picture this week and I was just astounded by how diverse this group is,” said Hunt. “But it’s not just about those that won, look at how many women, combat veterans, African Americans and Hispanics ran under the Republican banner this cycle.”
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Hunt’s victory and John James’s successful House run in Michigan means there will be four African American House Republicans in Congress next year, double the number currently in the House.
“I was elected to represent a majority-White district,” said Hunt. “I ran in a primary against nine other White guys and beat my nearest competitor by more than 25 points. The left can claim the Republican Party is racist, but my story says otherwise.”
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Hunt said his race was an added bonus, just like his status as a combat veteran, but not a defining feature of his campaign. He argued that voters in his district identified with calls for energy independence and combating inflation more than anything else.
This election cycle, the GOP fielded more women, Hispanic, and African American candidates for office in its entire history. While not all of those candidates were successful, the ones that did win feel empowered to share their stories.
“In the best country in the world where anything is possible, I am now honored to represent my hometown in the U.S. Congress,” said Arizona congressman-elect Juan Ciscomani, whose family immigrated from Mexico as a young child.
Ciscomani is one of several Hispanic Republicans elected to Congress this year. Some, like Texan Monica De La Cruz and Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, won seats in areas that previously voted Democratic.
“The Republican Party just had its best national margins ever among Hispanics in a midterm election,” said De La Cruz. “I’m proud of our gains, but make no mistake: we have a lot of work to do to grow our big tent.”
Apart from being more diverse, House Republicans are also slated to be younger next Congress. Hunt and James are both 41, while Ciscomani is 39. Luna and Congressman-elect Max Miller of Ohio are 33.
“This is a generational change,” said Hunt. “A lot of us are millennials, but in the upper-end of the age range, we’re getting into this fight because for far too long lawmakers in Washington, D.C. have been writing checks that we have to cash.”
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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who is expected to become speaker when Republicans take power in January, said the majority being younger and more diverse showcased the GOP’s commitment to being a national party.
“This party is more reflective of our country than almost anytime in our nation and it’s only going to continue to grow,” said McCarthy. “You may have not looked at the Republican Party before, but your voice is going to be listened to.”