While many tonight will focus on the presidential election, the race in Congress looks to be a huge night for women. With 18 women running for seats in the Senate and 166 in the House, we may see huge gains for women in American politics. Women will potentially make up as much as 20% of the Senate, which is up from 16.8% Congress-wide.
In the current Congress, 17 women serve in the Senate and 73 serve in the House. 26 states have female representatives while four states (Delaware, Iowa, Mississippi, and Vermont) have never elected a woman to Congress.
5 Closest Senate Races to Watch for Women
1) Connecticut: Linda McMahon (R) vs. Chris Murphy (D)
McMahon, who made her fortune in Wrestling World Entertainment, runs against Chris Murphy in Connecticut for retiring independent Sen. Joe Lieberman. She ran for the Senate against Richard Blumenthal (D) in 2009, losing by a slim margin. Her campaign has stressed her job creating ability as a former businesswoman. She has spent up to $42.6 million of her personal money on this campaign, according to AP.
AP called the Senate race in Murphy’s favor at 8:30 PM.
2) Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren (D) vs. Scott Brown (R)
Warren, an American bankruptcy law expert and Harvard Law School professor, is challenging Scott Brown (R) for the Senate seat. Her expertise was instrumental in establishing the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which regulates consumer protection with regards to the financial system in the U.S.
NBC News called the race for Warren at 9:43 p.m.
3) Missouri: Claire McCaskill (D) vs. Todd Akin (R)
Sen. McCaskill currently serves on the Committee of Armed Services, Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and Special Committee on Aging. She served as State Auditor of Missouri from 1999-2007, Jackson County Prosecutor from 1993-1998, and a House representative from 1983-1989.
Tonight, she runs against Todd Akin (the "legitimate rape" guy), and currently leads with 49.2% of the vote.
NBC News called the race for McCaskill at 10:07 p.m.
4) North Dakota: Heidi Heitkamp (D) vs. Rick Berg (R)
Heitkamp, currently a member of the board of directors for the Dakota Gasification Company, which produces synthetic natural gas, runs tonight against Rick Berg. The former Attorney General has unsuccessfully run for Senate several times.
As of 12:45 a.m., with 96% reporting, Heitkamp was up by 50.8% to Berg's 49.2%.
5) Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin (D) vs Tommy Thompson (R)
Currently a House representative for Wisconsin, Baldwin opposed the Iraq War from the start and signed a petition to impeach Dick Cheney. State-run health care and women's rights are also on her agenda.
Other awesome women to watch for:
Kirsten Gillibrand (D) - New York
Gillibrand, a liberal in a conservative congressional district, took Hillary Clinton's place as Senator in 2010. She is most well-known for her vocal support for repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and promoting the James Zadroga Act, which provides health monitoring and financial aid to sick 9/11 workers.
The New York Times reported that Gillibrand was re-elected at 10:06 p.m.
Amy Klobuchar (D) - Minnesota
Klobuchar is the senior Senator from Minnesota, a member of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, and the first elected female senator from Minnesota. She has served as a county attorney in Minnesota and legal adviser to former VP Walter Mondale.
The New York Times named Klobuchar one of the 17 women most likely to become the first female president, and by MSNBC as a possible nominee to the Supreme Court.
Klobuchar easily won re-election.
Mazie Hirono (D) - Hawaii
Although she lost the Senate race before, Hirono is poised to win the seat for Hawaii this election. The lawyer and former House representative would be the first Japanese immigrant, Buddhist, and Asian-American woman to be elected senator. Congress has seen only five Asian American senators so far, four from Hawaii and one from California. Whether she or Linda Lingle wins, Hawaii will see its first female senator.
Sources reported at 11:08 p.m. that Hirono has won the Senate seat, a set of historic firsts for the Senate.
Dianne Feinstein (D) - California
Feinstein, the senior senator from California, was one of California's first female senators in 1992. Before that she served as San Francisco's first female mayor and had worked heavily in San Fran city politics. She has chaired the Select Committee on Intelligence since 2009.
Feinstein won re-election for her fourth term against Elizabeth Emken.