5 Nov 2014

Grimm, Blair and Love: the new faces of Republican power

The first black woman Republican in Congress, the 18-year-old legislator and a man being investigated for fraud: Channel 4 News looks behind the headlines of the US midterms.

The story of the 2014 Midterms isn’t just about a big headache for Barack Obama and big losses for the Democrats – there are a few big surprises that not even the most seasoned pundit might have predicted.

Mia Love

Mia Love, the first black woman Republican elected to Congress (Reuters)

In Utah, Mia Love became the first black woman Republican elected to Congress. She won over party activists with her speech at the 2012 Convention describing how her Haitian parents came to America with just $10 in their pockets. The former mayor of Saratoga Springs has three children and is a member of the Mormon church, and says her focus will be on policy rather than promoting diversity.

Joni Ernst

Joni Ernst (Getty)

Self confessed hog-castrator Joni Ernst pulled off a convincing victory for the Republicans in Iowa after her anti-Washington, conservative “Iowa values” campaign. A war veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait, Senator Ernst is already being talked of as a potential White House contender.

Saira Blair

Saira Blair, the 18-year-old elected to West Virginia's state legislature

Not many political candidates give interviews to Teen Vogue, but Saira Blair was one: an 18 year old freshman at West Virginia University, she’s become America’s youngest elected political legislator for her local state government.

The young Republican based her campaign around making the party – and West Virginia – more accessible to young women, beating off a challenge from her 44-year-old Democratic opponent to win a seat at West Virginia’s state legislature.

Michael Grimm

Michael Grimm, elected to Congress despite being under investigation for fraud (Getty)

Just in case you thought being under investigation for fraud might be a barrier to office – not in New York. Republican Michael Grimm was elected for the city’s 11th Congressional district, despite being indicted on 20 counts, including under-reporting of wages and revenue related to a restaurant he used to run. Grimm was already notorious for threatening to throw a reporter off a balcony during the campaign.

Susana Martinez

Susana Martinez, re-elected as Republican governor of New Mexico (Getty)

And in New Mexico, Republican governor Susana Martinez won re-election by a massive 16 points, in a state which backed Obama convincingly just two years ago. It all helps her chances of getting on the GOP’s vice-presidential ticket: she was the first Hispanic governor in US history and this is one demographic the party desperately needs to engage.