PETE STAUBER (Minnesota Republican)
Pete Stauber calls himself a “blue-collar conservative.” He traded on his law enforcement and hockey background, and his support for President Donald Trump, to win the 8th District race in what used to be reliably Democratic northeastern Minnesota. The district is now swing territory — Trump won it by 15 percentage points. Democratic Rep. Rick Nolan’s decision to retire gave the GOP what was seen as its best chance anywhere to flip a blue seat.
Stauber, 52, served 22 years on the Duluth police force, retiring last year. He has been a St. Louis County commissioner from Hermantown since 2013. In a district where organized labor is still a force, it didn’t hurt that he’s the former president of the Duluth officers’ union.
And in a hockey-crazy state, it had to help that he comes from a noted hockey family. Stauber captained Lake Superior State to the NCAA Division I championship in 1988, then played minor-league hockey in the Detroit Red Wings organization. One brother, former NHL player Robb Stauber, coached the gold medal-winning U.S. women’s team in the 2018 Olympics. Pete Stauber and his brothers own a hockey store in Duluth.
DEBRA HAALAND (New Mexico Democrat)
Debra Haaland has become the one of the first Native American woman elected to Congress, joining Kansas Democrat Sharice Davids. A third Native American, New Mexico Republican Yvette Herrell, was leading her race.
There has only been one previous Native American in Congress: Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who represented Colorado for three terms in the Senate.
Haaland, 57, a tribal member of the Laguna Pueblo who was born in Winslow, Arizona, defeated a crowded field of mainly Hispanic candidates in the Democratic primary.
A former chairwoman of the Democratic Party of New Mexico, she has promised to push for renewable energy, immigration reform and a higher minimum wage. She also vowed to fight poverty in Native American communities and climate change.
SHARICE DAVIDS (Kansas Democrat)
Sharice Davids introduced herself to voters with a video of her kicking a large punching bag, then upended politics in deep-red Kansas by ousting a Republican incumbent and becoming the first LGBT Native American elected to Congress.
Davids defeated Rep. Kevin Yoder in Tuesday’s election in the Kansas City area’s 3rd District. The 38-year-old activist, lawyer and political newcomer already garnered national attention as part of a crop of diverse Democratic candidates.
She was helped by the district itself. President Donald Trump narrowly lost its mix of poor urban neighborhoods, established suburbs and rapidly expanding bedroom communities in 2016, and Trump endorsed Yoder in July.
Davids emerged from a six-person Democratic primary and energized voters and Democratic donors by emphasizing her biography. Her history includes a few professional and amateur mixed martial arts fights.
She’s a member of the Wisconsin-based Ho-Chunk Nation and was raised by a single mother who served in the Army and worked for the U.S. Postal Service. Davids spent eight years working her way through college, obtaining a law degree from Cornell University. She was a White House fellow in 2016-17 and worked for the U.S. Department of Transportation.