2012: The Year of the Woman Senator

When the new Congress is seated in January, it will include a record number of women.

Wins for Democrat Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, Republican Deb Fischer in Nebraska, and Democrat Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin will make all three the first female senators from their state. And Democratic women successfully defended their Senate seats in Missouri, Minnesota, California, Michigan, Washington, and New York. Meanwhile, Hawaii will send either Democrat Mazie Hirono or Republican Linda Lingle to the Senate, meaning that there will be at least 18 19 women in the Senate—and it could still be 19 20 if Democrat Heidi Heitkamp pulls out a win in North Dakota.*

* It looks like we undercounted in our initial estimate. 

WE DON'T KNOW

What's going to happen next as the headlines grow crazier and more disconcerting by the day. But we do know the job of an independent, unrelenting press is more important than ever—and the ongoing commitment of MoJo readers to fight for a democracy where facts matter and all can participate is absolutely vital.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.