Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the Senate to be the 11th Secretary of Education on Tuesday. In a Senate first, the chamber deadlocked at 50-50, causing Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie in favor of DeVos. All Democrats voted against DeVos, along with Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Susan Collins (R-ME).
Senator (and Attorney General designate) Jeff Sessions voted in favor of DeVos, breaking with the tradition of Cabinet nominees not voting on other nominees.
Democrats rallied against DeVos and the Secretary of Education position, which is typically relatively uncontroversial, became a rallying cry for the left. Activists and citizens made thousands of calls and used Twitter to coordinate the targeting of Senators. Murkowski and Collins’s break gave the activists hope, but reports say that the two only went public once they were sure the yeas were there.
DeVos was sworn in later that day.