As of January 3, the results of the U.S. midterm elections have gone into effect welcoming 96 freshman members of Congress. Of this new generation of legislature, 28 of them — nearly 1/3 — identify themselves as Catholic, although only one Catholic newcomer, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), is in the Senate.
Catholic News Agency reports, 163 of the 535 seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives are now held by Catholic politicians, which is about 30% of the American lawmaking body. According to Pew Research, the division of the House of Representatives is 86 Catholic Democrats to 55 Catholic Republicans. This is a drastic shift from what has historically been a near-even split.
Among the new generation of Republican Catholic representatives is Rep. Pete Stauber, who represents Minnesota’s 8th Congressional District. Stauber — a retired hockey player, police officer, city councilman, and father of four — who ran under the platform of defending life from “conception until natural death,” has vowed to “always be a strong and constant voice for the right to life.”
On the other side of the aisle is notably Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who now represents New York’s 14th Congressional District. Ocasio-Cortez, 29, became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress after beating out Democrat incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in the primary, which was considered one of the biggest upsets of the 2018 election.
CNA notes that Catholic education also plays a big role in the formation of many politicians. The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities has determined that 1 in 10 members of Congress graduated from a Jesuit institution. These 55 representatives attended one of 12 schools; the majority of them (28) attended Georgetown, while Boston College and Fordham each produced six.