A number of candidates blazed trails to Washington, D.C., on Tuesday night, including the country's first Native American and Muslim congresswomen.

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Tuesday was a night of firsts in American politics, with a number of candidates blazing trails to Washington, D.C.

  • Twenty-nine-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, is projected to be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. The progressive candidate shocked the political world by defeating 10-term New York Rep. Joe Crowley in a Democratic primary this summer.
  • Sharice Davids, D-Kansas, and Debra Haaland, D-New Mexico, will likely share the distinction of being the first Native American women to serve in Congress. Davids is a member of Wisconsin’s Ho-Chunk Nation and Haaland belongs to the Pueblo of Laguna.
  • The first two Muslim women to earn seats in Congress were also elected. Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, a Democratic-Socialist, is a well-known Palestinian-American activist; Ilhan Omar, a member of the Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party and a former Somali refugee, will represent Minnesota’s 5th District.
  • Alongside these pioneers, a record number of women appear to be headed for the Capitol. Currently, women hold about 20 percent of the 535 seats in Congress, but Tuesday results put them on pace to beat that number. Many of the newcomers are first-time candidates. Several women in Washington state’s Congressional delegation were re-elected Tuesday, including Sen. Maria Cantwell, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Rep. Suzan DelBene and Rep. Pramila Jayapal.

Close to home, a gun-regulations ballot measure passed that will make Washington’s firearms laws among the strictest in the countryThe sweeping 30-page measure known as Initiative 1639 raises the legal age to buy semi-automatic rifles to 21. To obtain such weapons, people will need to pass an enhanced background check, take a training course and wait 10 business days after a purchase.

Seattle Times reporter Paige Cornwell contributed to this report.