They were powered mostly by a female-led resistance movement forged in opposition to the election of Donald Trump, though there were also notable victories among Republican women.
A swath of candidates broke down barriers with victories in Tuesday's midterm elections - sending seismic shifts through the halls of Congress and across state-level contests.
The vote comes almost two years after women marched on Washington in defiance of the inauguration of President Donald Trump.
In races still too close to call, Abrams, if elected, would become the first female African-American governor in US history, and in Arizona's competitive Senate race, the state will elect either Republican Martha McSally or Democrat Kyrsten Sinema as the state's first woman to serve in the chamber.
Ayanna Pressley became the first African American woman elected to the House of Representatives for MA - a state with that has a black population of only eight percent.
Female candidates won congressional seats and governorships in record numbers Tuesday night. "Right now, the economy is controlled by big corporations whose profits are dependent on the continuation of climate change", she said during the campaign. She sailed through the midterms unopposed, two months after unseating 10-term Democrat Michael Capuano in a primary that was a national political stunner. Bob Corker, a frequent Trump critic. Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevy came out as gay while he was in office, and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who is bisexual, won in 2016, but Jared Polis will be the first man to win a governorship as an out gay man. Polis has been in Congress since 2009.
Deb Haaland, also a Native American, was also elected a congresswoman.More news: Three states vote to legalize marijuana in midterm election
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Democrat Ilan Omar (above left), a former refugee, is the first Somali-American in Congress and has spent that last four years as a state legislator. She was able to defeat her opponent, Janice Arnold Jones, by 22 points.
Ilhan Omar, a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, is one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress and will serve Minnesota's 5th District in the House. At 28 years old, Ocasio-Cortez will be the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. Ocasio-Cortez's Democratic Socialist ideals of Medicare for all and free public college tuition have captured the attention of a younger liberal crowd. At age 29, Ocasio Cortez of NY seizes the record from Rep. Elise Stefanik, who was elected at age 30 in 2014. During the campaign, the Republican acknowledged the historic potential of her candidacy, but preferred to focus on issues rather than gender.
The Hawkeye State has never sent a woman to the House - until now.
More than 100 women were projected to win seats in the House of Representatives, easily shattering the record.
The Republican incumbent lost her bid for a second term, going down to Democrat Elwood Caudill Jr. for clerk of Rowan County in north-eastern Kentucky.
Letitia James is the first black woman elected to a statewide office in NY.
Dana Nessel dispensed with subtlety in one of her early ads: "When you're choosing Michigan's next attorney general, ask yourself this: who can you trust most not to show you their penis in a professional setting?"