Elizabeth Warren (D) was the progressive movement's favorite candidate in 2012 — and after an intensely fought campaign that saw record spending, neck-and-neck polls and sharp barbs traded during debates with incumbent Republican Scott Brown, Warren was declared the winner on Tuesday night.
Warren's victory was one of several important wins not only for Democrats but for women across the country. Wisconsin's Tammy Baldwin (D) became the first openly gay U.S. senator; Claire McCaskill (D) fended off what once seemed like a certain loss to Republican Todd Aiken, whose remarks about "legitimate rape" earned him the censure of colleagues and funders alike in the last weeks of the race. That win was seconded by the defeat of Richard Mourdock (R) by Rep. Joe Donnelly (D) in Indiana; Mourdock doubled-down on the GOP's problems with women voters when he stated a belief that pregnancies resulting from rape were "God's will," and that the women carrying them should not have recourse to abortion options.
Warren brings a fierce focus and considerable expertise on financial reform and economic policy with her to the Senate — an important skill set as Congress copes with the financial cliff of sequestration in the weeks (and possibly months) ahead. Although usually referred to as "Professor" by Brown during the campaign, Warren's style was frequently blunt as interrogator-in-chief during hearings on the events of the 2008 financial crisis. Look to her committee assignments to see how the Democratic leadership is setting her up for the future.