There are currently 20 women in the United States Senate. That number, while still too low, represents a historic achievement: It’s the largest number of women who have ever served in the Senate. But now, as the Guardian reports, five women vying for Senate seats in swing states could not only move that historic bar, but also deliver the Senate back to the Democrats.
According to the Guardian:
There is broad agreement on the states where Democrats have the best chance of picking up seats: Illinois, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin and Ohio. In all but the last two, the Democratic candidate is a woman. And in Nevada, minority leader Harry Reid is retiring and Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto is neck-and-neck with her Republican opponent, Joe Heck, in the latest poll.
Tammy Duckworth, an Illinois congresswoman and Iraq war veteran who gave a memorable speech at the Democratic National Convention, is the most likely of those women to head to the Senate. Duckworth beat human wasteland Joe Walsh in 2013 to move into the House and now faces Mark Kirk, an early endorser of Donald Trump who walked his endorsement back only after it became clear an alignment with Trump was toxic. According to what little polling there is, Duckworth is currently tied with Kirk.
In addition to Duckworth and Cortez Masto, Ann Kirkpatrick is running close to John McCain in Arizona; Maggie Hassan is running against Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte, who can’t run away from Trump fast enough; Deborah Ross is running in North Carolina; and Katie McGinty is hoping to beat Pennsylvania conservative Pat Toomey.
Some of these campaigns weren’t necessarily considered competitive earlier this year, but two factors have put all seven seats into play—namely, money from Emily’s List and Donald Trump. As Trump’s number have worsened in swing states, so have the chances of those state’s Senate candidates.
Though California’s Kamala Harris isn’t running in a swing state, she is also poised to make some history. Harris, currently the state’s Attorney General, is running to replace retiring Senator Barbara Boxer. She’s considered a shoo-in for the seat and will become only the second black woman elected to the Senate.
The Guardian notes that if two of the six women running win their elections, the Senate will have more women in the chamber than it has ever had before. If all six women win (which is unlikely) then 25 percent of the Senate would be composed of women which, again, would be a history-making number.