Following the results of yesterday’s midterm elections, seven Cornellians — mostly incumbents — will serve in the 118th Congress, with one remaining race being too close to call at the time of publication. In addition, one candidate lost the general election.
The seven congress members-elect as well as Jamie McLeod-Skinner, M.R.P. ’95, whose race is too close to call, represent several parts of Cornell: Reps. Katherine Clark J.D. ’89 (D-Mass.) and Sharice Davids J.D. ’10 (D-Kan.) are graduates from Cornell Law School, Rep. Elissa Slotkin ’98 (D-Mich.) majored in rural sociology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, while Rep. Dan Heuser ’88 (R.-Pa.) was a government major in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Katherine Clark J.D. ’89 (D-Mass.) won re-election handily over Republican challenger Caroline Colarusso (R-Mass.) with nearly 75 percent of the vote. This is Clark’s fifth full term since entering office in a 2013 special election to replace then-Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) following his successful election to the Senate. She also serves as Assistant Speaker of the House.
Clark’s policy priorities include focuses on families, such as paid family leave initiatives, improvement of child care access and closing the gender pay gap.
In an interview with the Sun in 2019, Clark emphasized family issues as her reasons for running for office.
“I decided to tackle the issues around women and children that have always been priorities for me from the legislative side, instead of the advocacy side,” Clark said.
In an election expected to be among the closest in the nation, Rep. Sharice Davids J.D. ‘10 (D-Kan.) defeated Amanda Adkins (R.-Kan.) in a rematch of the 2020 election with 54.7% of the vote.
The Third District encompasses the Kansas City, Missouri suburb of Overland Park, Kansas.
Davids, along with Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), is the first Native American woman elected to Congress and is now the only Democratic member of Kansas’ congressional delegation.
Rep. Dan Meuser ‘88 (R.-Pa.) won re-election in a strongly Republican district. Prior to becoming a congressman in 2018, Meuser was the Pennsylvania Secretary of Revenue.
Meuser’s name was also listed in The New York Times’s list of 97 members of Congress facing potential conflicts of interest regarding recent financial trades, along with those of Rep. Katherine Clark J.D. ’89 (D-Mass.) and outgoing Rep. Kurt Schrader ’73 (D-Ore.).
Wesley Hunt M.P.A. ’15, M.B.A. ’15, M.I.L.R. ’16 (R-TX) won his brand-new, heavily Republican 38th district, which represents the outskirts of Houston. A West Point graduate, Hunt won an endorsement from former president Donald J. Trump (R.-Fla.). His campaign centered around abortion restrictions, immigration restrictions, voter ID laws, gun rights and police advocacy.
He will become the third Black Republican serving in the 118th Congress House of Representatives.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin ‘98 (D-Mich.) has defeated challenger Tom Barrett (R.-Mich.) in Michigan’s 7th congressional district in a tight race that was called early Wednesday morning..
Slotkin has served as representative of Michigan’s 8th district since 2019, but following Michigan’s redistricting, her district became the 7th. Prior to serving in Congress, she was a CIA agent and did three tours in Iraq along with the United States military.
Beth Van Duyne ’95 (R.-Texas) will serve as a congressional representative in Texas’s 24th district for a second term.
She previously served as the mayor of Irving, Texas and as an regional administrator for former President Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development. Van Duyne was first elected in 2020 and her district is located in the suburban area in between Fort Worth and Dallas.
Incumbent Melanie Stansbury ’07 (D-N.M.) will serve a second term as the congresswoman in New Mexico’s 1st congressional district. She is an alum of the development studies program in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and now works on the food insecurity crisis.
Mike Itkis ‘91 (I-N.Y.), who majored in electrical engineering while at Cornell, lost his election bid for congressman from New York’s 12th congressional district.
His campaign was attention-grabbing and controversial, not least because of the sex tape he produced and released in an effort to come off as “sex-positive.” Itkis’s other views include the legalization of sex work, ending the requirement to provide child support and redefining the abortion debate as the right to have unplanned sex. His campaign slogan was “Not married. No kids. Not celibate. Atheist.”
Itkis failed to garner one percent of the vote, losing in a landslide to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)
Jamie McLeod-Skinner, M.R.P. ’95 (D-Ore.)’s race remains too close to call, with her opponent Lori Chavez-DeRemer leading her 52 percent to 48 percent at the time of writing, with 69 percent of the votes counted and released.
If she wins, McLeod-Skinner will be the first openly lesbian representative in Oregon’s history. She also previously defeated Kurt Schrader ’73, a fellow Cornellian and 7-term incumbent, in the May Democratic primary.
McLeod-Skinner was an attorney and regional emergency manager and previously served on the City Council in Santa Clara, California. She has emphasized her rural location as well as local issues like working-class support and climate change.