EDITOR’S NOTE: Each week we cross-post an excerpt from Katrina vanden Heuvel’s column at the WashingtonPost.com. Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.

When student activist Chloe Maxmin graduated from Harvard University in 2015, many of her classmates went on to lucrative jobs in big coastal cities. But Maxmin, who devoted much of her time on campus to a fossil-fuel-divestment campaign that she co-founded, chose a different path. The native of Nobleboro, Maine (population 1,643), returned to her home state to work as a grass-roots organizer.

This February, Maxmin, now 26, decided to run for a seat in Maine’s House of Representatives. In a district that had never elected a Democrat, she campaigned with a progressive message focused on improving education funding, health-care access and transportation options for seniors. She won endorsements from unions, social workers, and even former president Barack Obama. Last Tuesday, she defeated her Republican opponent by five points.

Maxmin is one of many progressive candidates who prevailed in this month’s elections despite the long odds that Democrats traditionally face in their districts. Yet her victory stands out even more because of where she was able to win: in a district that contains the most rural county in America’s most rural state. And as Democrats reflect on the midterms and plan their next moves, it shows how the party can build on its momentum.

Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.