Voters Usher in a Record 20 Female Senators: Who Are They?

Alden Wicker
Posted

Pantsuits are about to have a fashion moment.

Last night’s election ushered in several female senators, bringing the number of female representatives in the Senate to a historical high of 20, or one in five senators. Though we still have some ways to go until women are truly represented in Congress–that would be around 50 senators and 218 House representatives–there are other encouraging numbers.

For example, about half of the Senate races had a viable female candidate. And New Hampshire is waving the females-rock flag: Next term, both senators, both House representatives and the governor will all be women. Plus, the House will have at least 77 Congresswomen next year (its previous female representative record was 73), and that number could rise; as of this writing, several races were too close to call.

Get to know the Senate women who will be advocating on your behalf:

Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren, Democrat, Massachusetts. Fierce consumer advocate and Wall Street critic; won her race against incumbent Republican Senator Scott Brown.

Deb Fischer, Republican, Nebraska. Defeated two-term Democratic U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey.

Mazie Hirono, Democrat, Hawaii. Defeated former Republican Governor Linda Lingle to become first Japan-born Senator.

Claire McCaskill, Democrat, Missouri. The incumbent senator shut down controversial Republican challenger Todd Akin.

Mazie Hirono

Debbie Stabenow, Democrat, Michigan. Solidly defeated Republican challenger Pete Hoekstra.

Dianne Feinstein, Democrat, California. She out-raised her little-known Republican opponent by a factor of 13 to win a fourth term.

Tammy Baldwin, Democrat, Wisconsin. First openly gay person elected to the Senate, and first female senator to represent Wisconsin. Defeated Republican Tommy Thompson, Wisconsin’s longest- serving governor and former U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush.

Tammy Baldwin

Amy Klobuchar, Democrat, Minnesota. Easily won against a Republican challenger, with 65% of the vote.

Kelly Ayotte, Republican, New Hampshire. The incumbent is part of the all-female New Hampshire Congressional delegation.

Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat, New Hampshire. Was the first female Governor of New Hampshire before becoming senator.

Maria Cantwell, Democrat, Washington. Easily defeated a Republican newcomer to clinch a third term.

Kirsten Gillibrand

Patty Murray, Democrat, Washington. Was first elected to the Senate in the first “Year of the Woman” in 1992 and actively seeks out qualified female candidates for office.

Kirsten Gillibrand, Democrat, New York. Easily fended off a female Republican challenger, Wendy Long.

Lisa Murkowski, Republican, Alaska. In 2010 became the second person ever to win a Senate election through write-in votes.

Barbara Boxer, Democrat, California. Holds the record for the most popular votes in Senate history for her 2004 re-election.

Susan Collins

Mary Landrieu, Democrat, Louisiana. Is known as one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate.

Susan Collins, Republican, Maine. Was first elected to the Senate in 1996.

Barbara Mikulski, Democrat, Maryland. Is the longest-serving female member of Congress.

Kay Hagan, Democrat, North Carolina. Became first woman to defeat a female incumbent, in 2008.

Heidi Heitkamp Democrat, North Dakota. She won in an extremely tight race that wasn’t settled until Wednesday afternoon.

  • Pete

    Bob Kerrey wasn’t the incumbent Senator in Nebraska, Ben Nelson is but he’s retiring. Kerrey is a former two-term Senator though.

    • AldenWicker

      Thank you for pointing that out! We’ve corrected the article.