GOP Wave Yields More Racially Diverse Congress, But No Gains for Women

VIDEO: The president makes roughly 60 calls to House and Senate
WATCH Jake Tapper on Obama's New Congress

Come January, the halls of Congress will be filled with dozens of new Republican members, many of whom will help make the chamber more diverse than it was before.

By numbers alone, the Congress that will meet in 2011 will be slightly more racially and ethnically mixed than the current one, according to an ABC News analysis of the election results. But the vast majority of representatives in Washington will continue to be white, straight men.

Several African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American candidates succeeded in their bids for House and Senate seats, while women candidates faced mixed results, leaving their overall representation in Congress flat or declining based on the outcome of several undecided races.

2010 Election Maps: Follow the Senate, House and Governors' Races

A record eight Latino Republicans were elected to Congress Tuesday, bringing total Latino representation on Capitol Hill to a near-record 27, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

The number of Asian-American members of Congress will remain at 13, while the number of African-Americans will be 41, one less than the current makeup.

Five new Latino GOP representatives, who all ousted Democratic incumbent opponents, will join soon-to-be Florida Sen. Marco Rubio in Washington. Rubio will be only the second Latino in the Senate next to Democrat Robert Menendez.

"This was the year of the Hispanic Republican candidate," said Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, praising the results. "We need to have strong roots in both political parties because not one political party will always be in control. We need to have access to people on both sides of the aisle, people who understand our community.

The Republicans also scored a historic victory in electing Tim Scott of South Carolina and Allen West of Florida who will each become the first GOP African-Americans to represent their states in the U.S. House in more than 100 years.

This is also the first time since J.C. Watts left the House in 2003 that Republicans will have African-American caucus members and the first time in a decade that two GOP African-American lawmakers have served together.

All 42 African-American members currently in Congress are Democrats.

Scott and West, both backed by Sarah Palin, are outspoken critics of President Obama, the first African-American president.

West is supported by the Tea Party, which brought a wave of conservative senators into power and helped defeat the Democratic majority.

West, a veteran, will join two other black members from Florida, but his vision is vastly different from his Democratic colleagues. West rode to victory on the back of Tea Party support and blasted the Democratic agenda, instead arguing for spending cuts and tax breaks for businesses.

Overall, the number of African-Americans in Congress will remain steady. But for the first time in five years, the U.S. Senate will not have an African-American member in 2011.

Since Reconstruction, when African-Americans gained political representation, six of them have served in the Senate, three Republicans and three Democrats. The last African-American to serve was Roland Burris, who was appointed to fill Barack Obama's seat when he was elected in 2008.

Women Fail to Gain Ground in Congress

Meanwhile, despite record numbers of women filing to run for the U.S. House and Senate during the primaries, women failed to increase their number in Congress and could cede ground to men next year, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

Seventeen women currently serve in the U.S. Senate, and 11 were not up for reelection this year.

Democrats Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, and Patty Murray of Washington, and Republican Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire were elected Tuesday, meaning a total of at least 16 women in the Senate.

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is locked in a tight race with her opponent and the outcome is not yet clear.

Seven high-profile women candidates for Senate failed in their bids, including Linda McMahon of Connecticut, Christine O'Donnell of Delaware, and Sharron Angle of Nevada. Arkansas Democrat Sen. Blanche Lincoln lost her reelection bid.

In the House, where 73 women now serve, at least 70 women will be seated in 2011. But three women candidates -- Democrats Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and Melissa Bean of Illinois and Republican Ann Marie Buerkle of New York -- are in races too close to call.

If any one of those three lose, there will be a decline in the total number of women in Congress for the first time in 30 years.

Here's a look at some historic "firsts" for minority candidates this year:

Republican Jaime Herrera became Washington state's first Latina representative in Congress.

Marco Rubio is the country's 7th Latino Senator and the first GOP senator since Mel Martinez resigned in 2009.

Tim Scott and Alan West became the first Republican African American members of Congress to enter the House since 2003.

Hawaii became the first state who's congressional contingent is entirely women.

Nevada elected its first Latino governor in Brian Sandoval.

Susanna Martinez is New Mexico's first female governor and one of the country's first two women of color governors.

Nikki Haley of South Carolina became the country's second Indian-American governor, the state's first woman governor, and one of the first two women of color.