The primary focus of Democrats’ “blue wave” from this month’s midterms has been on the House of Representatives, where Democrats will likely flip 40 seats and have already won by the largest margin since Watergate.
But don’t lose sight of the big wins in state elections, either.
And Democrats flipped numerous state legislative chambers across the country, like the New York senate, Minnesota house, New Hampshire house and senate, Maine senate, and Colorado senate.
Colorado’s state senate, which will be controlled by Democrats for the first time in five years, is where one of the stories that best captures this moment in American politics played out.
Five women who “were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings” ran for the state senate.
All five won, propelling Democrats back to the majority in that chamber.
“We were all in it together,” state senator-elect Jessie Danielson (D) told People.
Danielson, a member of the Colorado state house since 2014 who frequently campaigned with her young daughter, flipped the open seat in Lakewood’s 20th senate district to Democrats with an 11-point win.
State senator-elect Faith Winter (D), who also campaigned with her young children, unseated an incumbent Republican in the 24th senate district’s Denver suburbs by over 12 points.
— Rep Faith Winter (@FaithWinterCO) November 6, 2018
— Rep Faith Winter (@FaithWinterCO) November 3, 2018
Winter, a member of the Colorado state house since 2014, was among the numerous women who accused state representative Steve Lebsock (D) of sexual harassment last year. Lebsock was expelled by colleagues in March.
Winter credits state senator-elect Brittany Pettersen (D), her friend and bridesmaid, for helping her through that difficult period. “She knew I was scared to use my office during that time. She was there for all of my concerns.”
Pettersen, a member of the Colorado state house since 2012 who considered a bid for Rep. Ed Perlmutter‘s (D) seat in the 7th congressional district, moved to the state senate with a 16-point win to keep the Denver suburbs’ 22nd senate district in Democrats’ hands on Election Day.
State senator-elect Tammy Story (D) defeated an incumbent Republican by nearly 14 points to flip Golden’s 16th senate district earlier this month in her second bid for public office.
“We hoped we were all going to win, but I don’t think anyone predicted the margin that we would win by,” said Story, who lost a 2016 Colorado state house race by around 1,850 votes.
State senator Kerry Donovan (D) cruised to capturing a second term representing Aspen’s 5th senate district by over 20 points on Election Day.
Winter explained to People how the five friends helped each other during their campaigns.
“We had several text chains where we would check in with one another and see how we were doing. If a particularly bad ad or piece of mail came out, we would reassure each other on the text chain, ‘Have you seen the mail? It’s so awful, how are you doing?’ Our families are incredibly supportive, but it’s not their name on the thousands of pieces of mail going out or on the TV, so being able to talk to them, and they are going through the exact same thing, it was so supportive.”
With the “Fab Five”-inspired flip of the state senate, Democrats now claim a “trifecta,” a term for when one party holds the governor’s mansion and the majorities in the state House and senate, in Colorado.
Danielson, Story, and Winter now hold three of the the over 350 state legislative seats that have flipped to Democrats under President Donald Trump.
The 2018 midterm elections featured a record-breaking number of women running for office at nearly every level of government.
Danielson described how being a working mother has inspired other women.
“I had to take my daughter on the floor (of the House) a lot, we work long hours. She ended up being fairly front and center of the campaign because the kind of Colorado we want is for her. I’ve had a number of younger women come to me and say to me, ‘I see you can do it, now I feel I can do it too.’ They see you can run for office and have a family.”