Seven Cornellians are to serve in the 118th Congress

Following the results of yesterday’s midterm election, seven Cornellians – mostly incumbents – will run in the 118th Congress, with one remaining race too close to call at time of publication. In addition, one candidate lost the parliamentary election.

The seven elected members of Congress, plus Jamie McLeod-Skinner, MRP ’95, whose race is too close to name, represent several parts of Cornell: Reps. Katherine Clark JD ’89 (D-Mass.) and Sharice Davids JD ’10 (D-Kan.) are graduates of Cornell Law School, Rep. Elissa Slotkin ’98 (D-Mich.) majored in rural sociology at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, during Rep. Dan Heuser ’88 (R.-Pa.) was a government major in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Katherine Clark JD ’89 (D-Mass.) easily won re-election over Republican challenger Caroline Colarusso (R-Mass.) by nearly 75 percent of the vote. This is Clark’s fifth full term since taking office in a 2013 special election to replace the then MP. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) after his successful election to the Senate. She also serves as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Clark’s policy priorities include a focus on families, such as paid family leave initiatives, improving access to childcare and closing the gender pay gap.

In a 2019 interview with the Sun, Clark highlighted family issues as her reasons for running.

“I have chosen to approach the issues surrounding women and children, which have always been priorities for me, from the legislative side rather than the advocacy side,” Clark said.

In what is expected to be one of the closest elections in the nation, Rep. Sharice Davids defeated JD ’10 (D-Kan) Amanda Adkins (R-Kan) by 54.7% in a rematch of the 2020 election of votes.

The third district includes the suburb of Overland Park, Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri.

Davids is the first Native American woman, along with Deb Haaland (DN.M.), to be elected to Congress and is now the only Democratic member of the Kansas congressional delegation.

Rep. Dan Meuser ’88 (R.-Pa.) won re-election in a heavily Republican constituency. Before becoming a congressman in 2018, Meuser was Pennsylvania Secretary of the Treasury.

Meuser’s name was also included in the New York Times’ list of 97 members of Congress with potential conflicts of interest relating to recent financial dealings, along with Rep. Katherine Clark JD ’89 (D-Mass.) and outgoing Rep. Kurt Schrader. 73 (D ore.).

Wesley Hunt MPA ’15, MBA ’15, MILR ’16 (R-TX) won his brand new, heavily Republican 38th District, representing the outskirts of Houston. A West Point graduate, Hunt received endorsement from former President Donald J. Trump (R.-Fla.). His campaign focused on abortion restrictions, immigration restrictions, voter ID laws, gun rights and police advocacy.

He becomes the third black Republican in the House of Representatives at the 118th Congress.

Rep. Elissa Slotkin ’98 (D-Mich.) defeated challenger Tom Barrett (R.-Mich.) in Michigan’s 7th congressional district in a close race called early Wednesday morning.

Slotkin has served as Michigan’s 8th district representative since 2019, but after Michigan’s redistribution, her district became the 7th. Before serving in Congress, she was a CIA agent and made three deployments to Iraq with the US military.

Beth Van Duyne ’95 (R.-Texas) will serve a second term as a congresswoman in Texas’ 24th District.

She previously served as Mayor of Irving, Texas, and as Regional Administrator for former President Trump’s Department of Housing and Urban Development. Van Duyne was first elected in 2020 and her constituency is in a suburb between Fort Worth and Dallas.

Incumbent Melanie Stansbury ’07 (DN.M.) will serve a second term as a congresswoman in New Mexico’s 1st congressional district. She is a graduate of the Development Studies program at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and is now working on the food insecurity crisis.

Mike Itkis ’91 (IN.Y.), who was studying electrical engineering while at Cornell, lost his bid to run for Congressman for New York’s 12th congressional district.

His campaign was attention-grabbing and controversial, not least because of the sex tape he produced and released to be considered “sex-positive.” Itkis’ other views include legalizing sex work, eliminating child support, and redefining the abortion debate as a right to unplanned sex. His campaign slogan was “Not Married. No children. Not celibate. Atheist.”

Itkis failed to win a percent of the vote, losing in a landslide to Rep. Jerrold Nadler (DN.Y.)

Jamie McLeod-Skinner’s race, MRP ’95 (D-Ore.), remains too close to name. Her opponent, Lori Chavez-DeRemer, leads her at the time of writing 52 percent to 48 percent with 69 percent of the vote counted and approved.

If she wins, McLeod-Skinner will become the first openly lesbian representative in Oregon history. She also previously defeated Kurt Schrader ’73, a fellow Cornellian and 7-term incumbent, in the Democratic primary in May.

McLeod-Skinner was an attorney and regional emergency manager, and previously served on the Santa Clara, California City Council. She has emphasized her rural location as well as local issues such as supporting the working class and climate change.

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