At Long Last, First Americans Surge in Ballots

November 7th, 2020 - by Caitlin O'Kane / CBS News

Two new Native American congressmembers: Sharice Davids and Deb Haaland (AP / C Braley and Mark Ralston/ Getty)

A Record-Breaking 6 Native Americans Were Elected to Congress on Tuesday

Caitlin O’Kane / CBS News

(November 7, 2020) — Six Native American and Native Hawaiian were elected to the House of Representatives on Tuesday — a record-breaking number.

Democratic Representative Sharice Davids won reelection in Kansas, CBS News projects. She defeated Amanda Adkins, becoming the only Democrat representing Kansas in the House.

In Hawaii, Democratic candidate Kaiali’i Kahele defeated his Republican challenger Joe Akana, CBS News projects. Kahele will be only the second Native Hawaiian to represent the state in Congress.

In Oklahoma, CBS News projects both Representative Tom Cole and Representative Markwayne Mullin, two Republicans, won reelection.

Democratic Congresswoman Debra Haaland of New Mexico also won reelection. Republican Yvette Herrell also won in New Mexico.

According to Indian Country Today, a total of 13 Native American candidates were competing for House seats this year. The six winners have set a record. The group is split evenly by party — three Democrats and three Republicans.

In 2019, Cole and Haaland became co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Native American Caucus, which “seeks to educate members of Congress and encourage an open dialogue about issues affecting Native Americans,” according to a press release from Cole’s office.

“As part of this mission, the caucus regularly convenes briefings, considers the impact of legislation on tribal nations and provides a forum for members of Congress to exchange information, ideas and research.” In 2016 only four member of Congress were Native American, according to the release.

Cole is a member of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma. Haaland is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna who also has Jemez Pueblo heritage.

Davids, who in 2018 became the first Native American congresswoman, is also one of the few openly gay women in Congress. She is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation.

Herrell is a member of the Cherokee Nation, according to the Albuquerque Journal. Representative Markwayne Mullin is a member of the Cherokee Nation as well.

Kahele, who served as a state senator in Hawaii, is of Native Hawaiian ancestry; his family comes from the small fishing village of Miloli’i in South Kona.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.