Election night saw some big gains for the Democratic Party, including a historic win in Illinois with the election of Senator Kwame Raoul as the first Haitian American elected attorney general in the state.
Raoul won with about 60 percent of the vote, beating out Republican challenger Erika Harold by nearly 500,000 votes.
“Ever since my first year of law school, I’ve dreamed of this job. Today, people went to the polls to defend our healthcare, our rights, and the safety of our communities,” Raoul said on his victory. “I’m ready to step up and be your advocate.”
The state senator, who was born to Haitian parents in Chicago, was appointed to the Illinois General Assembly in 2004 to replace Barack Obama as he headed to the U.S. Senate.
The Haitian community and Democratic Party saw some other big gains on election night. In Florida, voters restored the right to vote for some 1.5 million formerly incarcerated felons. In New York, Letitia James was elected the first black female attorney general, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 28, was elected as the youngest woman to Congress.
Haitian Americans Rodneyse Bichotte and Mathilde Frontus also saw victory on election night, with Bichotte re-elected to her Assembly seat in Brooklyn’s 45th district, and Frontus, in Brooklyn’s 46th district.
In Massachusetts, Ayanna Pressley will become the first black woman elected to Congress from the state.
Closely watched races of Andrew Gillum in Florida and Stacy Abrams in Georgia, however fell short with both lagging behind their Republican challengers.
“I think what’s at stake in this race is whether or not they’ll be a last line of defense from within this state against the policies coming from the White House,” Raoul said in an interview with CBS. “Who we elect as attorney general, not only in the state of Illinois, but throughout the country, matters now more than at any time in American history.”
Raoul takes office Jan. 14.
By Vania Andre