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

VIDEO: The president makes roughly 60 calls to House and Senate winners.
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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.

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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.

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