The 2020 U.S. presidential election has been a nail-biter, so it’s understandable if many folks were glued to Electoral College maps and races that were “too early to call” for incumbent President Donald Trump or his Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Election Night. There was still no clear winner for the White House on Wednesday morning.
But many other outcomes were decided on Tuesday, including milestone wins for young and LGBTQ lawmakers, the decriminalization of illegal drugs and psychedelics in some places, as well as a higher minimum wage for one Southern state, while another got a new state flag.
So here are five election results you might have missed on Tuesday while obsessing over the presidential race.
LGBTQ candidates rode a rainbow wave.
While there wasn’t a clear red or blue wave on Tuesday night, there was a rainbow wave as many LGBTQ candidates made historic wins in seven states. The Victory Fund reported a record-breaking 1,000-plus candidates from the LGBTQ community. Notable outcomes included Sarah McBride from Delaware, who became the first openly transgender state senator in U.S. history, and the highest-ranking transgender official in the country. Vermont’s Taylor Small became her state’s first transgender representative and the fifth transgender lawmaker nationwide.
New York candidates Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones became the first Black gay men elected to the House of Representatives. Florida and Georgia elected their first out LGBTQ state senators (Shevrin Jones and Kim Jackson, respectively), and Kansas elected Stephanie Byers, the state’s first transgender elected official and the first indigenous transgender person elected to a state legislature, as she is a member of the Chickasaw Nation.
AOC was re-elected, but she’s no longer the youngest member of Congress.
Republican Madison Cawthorn, at the ripe young age of 25, will become the youngest member of Congress in modern history after being elected to represent North Carolina in the House of Representatives. That honorific was previously held by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), whose age was 29 years, two months and 22 days when she was elected in 2018.
Cawthorn immediately stoked controversy (and questions about his maturity) on Twitter, however, by tweeting “Cry more, lib,” after winning.
But the youngest House member, ever, was actually William Charles Cole Claiborne of Tennessee, CNN reports, who was just 22 when he was elected in 1797. He was seated despite the constitutional age requirement that House members must be at least 25.
Meanwhile, “The Squad” of progressive congresswomen including Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) were re-elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Cannabis and cocaine were legalized and decriminalized in some states.
Arizona, New Jersey, Montana and South Dakota voted to approve recreational-marijuana sales for adults 21 and over on Tuesday. And adding these four states to the 11 that have already decriminalized cannabis, more than 111 million Americans (33.8% of the population) will now live in states where pot has been made legal for all adults.
What’s more, Oregon approved a measure to decriminalize possession of all illegal drugs, including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamines. And Oregon also legalized medicinal psilocybin, aka the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. Washington, D.C. also voted to decriminalize plant psychedelics such as psilocybin and ayahuasca.
Florida raised its minimum wage.
Things are looking sunnier for hourly workers in the Sunshine State in one respect: the minimum wage (currently $8.65) will almost double over the next several years. A supermajority of Florida voters approved raising the hourly rate to $10 next year, and the minimum wage will continue to increase by $1 a year until it hits $15 in 2026. Florida joins seven other states that have made plans to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next several years.
Mississippi officially replaced its Confederate-themed state flag.
State lawmakers voted to remove the Confederate battle emblem that’s branded the state flag for more than a century last summer, and voters confirmed the new design on Tuesday.
The Magnolia State’s flag now features a magnolia flower on a dark blue background surrounded by 20 stars (representing Mississippi as the 20th state), along with another star made of diamond shapes that signifies the Native American people who lived there first. The flag also features the phrase “In God We Trust.”
As for the presidential race, here’s what we know about the states whose Electoral College votes haven’t been called.
And see live updates on the vote count for Trump and Biden, as well as the tight race for control of the Senate, by following day two of MarketWatch’s 2020 Election live blog.