To this day, the two reliably Republican districts have a lot in common. Both voted for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama, and for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. Both districts boast a high proportion of college-educated voters. Finally, but maybe not surprisingly, large shares of both districts are white: more than 60 percent of residents in Gingrich’s old stomping ground, and nearly 86 percent in Hastert’s.
This year, both districts broke the Trumpian script by turning blue. Lucy McBath, who connected with thousands of voters by sharing the anguish she felt after losing her son to gun violence, won in Georgia. Lauren Underwood, a nurse who focused her campaign on health care, economic growth, and gun safety, prevailed in Illinois. Here’s what so remarkable: Representatives-elect McBath and Underwood are both African American.
Houston, Texas, has a similar story to tell. Harris County, which includes Houston, has elected white Republican men to run its local government in every election for decades. But this year, Harris County elected as its top executive a 27-year-old woman who promised to fight corruption, increase transparency, and champion criminal-justice reform. Lina Hidalgo is a Colombian immigrant.