There are currently 17 female U.S. senators, which had also been a record number. Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) are both retiring, thus, the next Congress will have just four Republican senators.
The Senate is to join Republican Deb Fischer (Neb.) and Democrats Tammy Baldwin (Wis.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).
“I am honored and humbled and grateful, and I am ready to get to work – ready to stand with Barack Obama, and ready to fight for Wisconsin’s middle class,” said Baldwin to raucous cheers at her victory party.
Although she made history on Tuesday night becoming the first openly gay senator-elect in U.S. history, her sexual orientation was largely a non-issue in the race.
“Now, I am well aware that I will have the honor to be Wisconsin’s first woman U.S. senator. And I am well aware I will be the first openly gay member of the United States Senate,” she said, with the crowd drowning her out and chanting “Tammy! Tammy!”
“But I didn’t run to make history,” she continued. “I ran to make a difference – a difference in the lives of families struggling to find work and pay the bills, a difference in the lives of students worried about debt and seniors worried about their retirement security.”
She went on, adding: “A difference in the lives of veterans who fought for us and need someone fighting for them and their families when they return home from war, a difference in the lives of entrepreneurs trying to build a business and working people trying to build some economic security.”
Baldwin will be succeeded in her House seat by state Assemblyman Mark Pocan, a Democrat who also goes public about his gay orientation.
As for the rest of the female Senators, all six Democratic women up for reelection – Sens. Maria Cantwell (Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.) and Debbie Stabenow (Mich.) – won their races.
However, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) made way to Dean Heller, while Democrat Heidi Heitkamp’s race in North Dakota was too close to call.
As The Huffington Post reports, five Republican female candidates lost their races on Tuesday.
Wendy Long competed with Gillibrand, Elizabeth Emken ran against Feinstein and Linda Lingle went against Hirono. Linda McMahon in Connecticut and Heather Wilson in New Mexico also lost.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, headed by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), reiterated the fact that it had recruited a record number of female candidates.
“When we started this campaign, no one, and I mean no one gave us a chance,” said Murray on Tuesday night.
“But we went out and built the best Senate campaigns in the history of the country. We recruited some of the highest quality candidates, including a record number of women. Democrats never let up and now we will retain our majority in the United States Senate.”
“Democratic women in the Senate were the first line of defense against the Republican war on women,” added EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock in a statement.
“Voters saw the role they played, and they trust them to lead on the issues that matter to women and families. That’s why they sent every single Democratic woman up for re-election to the Senate back to Washington. It’s an incredible testament to the good work these women do in Washington.”