The general theme of the 2010 Midterm Elections was a massive tidal wave which made Republicans the big winners and left Democrats licking their wounds in one big rebuke to President Obama. End of story, what's for lunch? Well... not quite. Some pretty fascinating surprises were buried in the returns.
Here are nine groundbreaking, unusual, and and just plain historic results from Tuesday's midterm elections:
- America has its first transgendered trial court judge: Say hello to newly minted Judge Victoria Kolakowski of the Alameda Country Superior Court in Oakland, California.
- The Deep South has sent a black Republican to the House for the first time since Reconstruction: Tim Scott of South Carolina is also the first black GOP member of Congress since Oklahoma's J.C. Watts retired in 2003.
- A dead woman was elected to the California State Senate: Democratic state Senator Jenny Oropeza died two weeks before Election Day due to complications from a blood clot she suffered after battling cancer. Oropeza remained on the ballot and won. A special election will be called in December.
- Kentucky (yes, Kentucky) voters elected an openly gay mayor: Stereotypes about Kentucky and social values be damned! Lexington, Kentucky, voters elected businessman Jim Gray as their city's first openly gay mayor. Lexington is the state's second-largest city.
- Denver officials won't have to phone home: Voters in the Mile High City rejected a proposal that would have set up an Extraterrestrial Affairs Commission and required local officials to collect and investigate UFO sightings.
- New Mexico voters elected the nation's first female Hispanic governor: Republican Susana Martinez of Las Cruces is also the first female Governor of New Mexico.
- The nation will have its first female Indian-American governor: Nikki Haley of South Carolina, a Sarah Palin favorite, was raised a Sikh before converting to Christianity when she was married. Her full name is Nimrata Nikki Randhawa Haley.
- There will be no African-Americans in the new Senate: Kendrick Meek in Florida, Alvin Greene in South Carolina, and Michael Thurmond in Georgia all went down to defeat, meaning the Upper Chamber of Congress will have no black members. Only six African-Americans have served in the Senate in our nation's history.
- Rhode Island decided it didn't want to change its name: The state's official name is actually "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations." Rhode Islanders decided they were perfectly happy with the smallest state keeping the longest name.