This year is quickly shaping up to be quite historic. We are in the midst of President Obama's reelection and fighting to regain control of the House and keep control of Senate. What seems very clear, though, is that female candidates are leading the way this year.
This year has seen a record number of women running for office. The pro-choice women's group, Emily's List, has seen it's members double from 400,000 to 1,000,000 since Republicans took control of the House. They have also endorsed a record number of Senate and House candidates. Here are the seven women running for Senate.
In 1998, Tammy Baldwin became the first openly LGBT candidate elected to Congress. She was a trailblazer, also becoming the first woman from Wisconsin elected to Congress. Now she is ready to break another glass ceiling and become the first LGBT Senator.
Just last week Baldwin introduced in the House the "The Paying a Fair Share Act" or the Buffet Rule. A bill that would ensure that the Middle Class doesn't pay more than the Wealthy in taxes. She also introduced legislation with fellow Wisconsin Congressman and Republican Reid Ribble called the "CHEATS Act". It would ensure the paper industry of Northern Wisconsin would have a leg up over the Chinese paper industry.
Baldwin faces a somewhat tough fight from former Governor Tommy Thompson and to a lesser extent Tea Party radical and former Congressman Mark Nuemann. Both have raised significantly less cash than Baldwin. Unfortunately for Thompson, Nuemann has become the national conservative favorite and has the backing of the "Club for Growth" and Senator Demint. This will ensure an expensive and bitter primary.
First elected in 1998, along with Tammy Baldwin. Shelley Berkley became the first Democratic woman elected to Congress from Nevada. She's now running for Senate to become the states first female Senator.
Berkley is running against appointed Senator and former Congressman Dean Heller. Since his appointment his approvals have gone down hill. Heller voted for the "Ryan Budget" twice. Once as a Congressman and the other time as a Senator. Berkley, a somewhat liberal Congresswoman, has called him out for those votes and for his stance on Immigration and the Latino community. Heller has not moderated any of his views.
Berkley had the primary cleared for her, freeing up resources against Heller, having so far out raised him. She will have the benefit of President Obama being on the ticket. Polling is close, but as Election day gets closer it should break for Berkley. Not to mention she has the Reid machine behind her and much of the Casino industry.
Susan Bysiewicz first entered public service in 1992, when she was elected to the Connecticut House of Representatives. She later ran for and won the position of Secretary of State, in 1998. She ran for Attorney General, in 2010, but was found to be ineligible. She did not run for reelection to SoS.
Bysiewicz is running against Congressman Chris Murphy in the Democratic primary. So far it has been clean. She's running on a populist progressive message, coming out with her own plan. Designed to help the middle class and hold Wall St. accountable. Though, she did criticize Murphy for his vote to extend tax breaks for Executives of Investment Firms.
Murphy has been slightly ahead in all polling and has the support of the DSCC and most of the establishment. Bysiewicz was endorsed by Emily's List, though. Murphy also has a clear lead in fundraising, but Bysiewicz has been keeping herself competitive. There's also the possibility William Tong could draw votes from either of them. It seems the race is lean Murphy, but anything is possible.
The former Attorney General of North Dakota, Heidi Heitkamp held that position from 1992-2000. Having previously served as State Tax Commissioner. She ran for Governor in 2000, but developed Breast Cancer and had to stop campaigning and lost the election.
Senator Kent Conrad decided not to seek reelection. It was immediately thought to be a lost cause for Democrats, along with Nebraska. A few months ago, rumors began to circulate that Heitkamp was going to enter the race. A poll was released soon after showing her leading Republican Congressman Rick Berg, 47-42. She made North Dakota a race again for Democrats.
Heitkamp managed to raise $500,000 in 8 weeks. Beginning the climb to reach her opponents fundraising level. Luckily it would seem Bergs attempt to move up, just after he was elected to Congress, isn't popular. Heitkamp is personally popular and likable, which should help her immensely in a state that President Obama will lose.
A longtime legislator, Mazie Hirono was elected Lt. Governor in 1994. She was reelected in 1998 and ran for Governor in 2002, but lost to Linda Lingle. In 2006, Congressman Ed Case decided to run against Senator Daniel Akaka in the Democratic primary. She ran decided to run for Congress. Winning the election in 2006.
Early last year, Akaka announced he wasn't running for reelection. Soon after Hirono jumped into the Senate race. If she wins she will be the first Asian American woman elected to the Senate. She'd be the second woman of color in the Senate, after Carol Moseley Braun.
Ed Case and Republican Linda Lingle both jumped into the race. Fortunately Hawaii is very Democratic and Hirono is very popular. She has the explicit support of the Hawaii establishment and the DSCC. The latest poll had her leading both Case and Lingle by 20 points. Case has been raising very little and hasn't been gaining much traction. Though Lingle is raising a ton of money, it's for a lost cause. Meaning much of that money isn't going to other races.
Possibly the biggest star of the 2012 election cycle, Elizabeth Warren has ridden a huge wave of populism. She was already widely known for her consumer advocacy work and her work in the Obama administration.
Warren entered the Senate race with some skepticism about her potential. It immediately became clear those fears were unfounded. She turned what had been Scott Brown's race to lose, to her race to lose.
Since Warren's entrance she has quickly begun to catch up to Brown in the fundraising department. She immediately began to poll ahead of him as well. It's clear that with a Senate win she'll gain a lot of political capital. There may even be a campaign to recruit her for a a 2016 Presidential run.