17 out of 100. 17%. That’s the percentage of women in the United States Senate. Women make up 50.8% of this country, but just 17% of the body that represents each state. Puzzling. I promise, no kitchen jokes or driving jokes.
But is that about to change? Politico reported that female Senate candidates this cycle are raking up money, to the tune of $135 million!! There are currently 17 female US Senators serving today:
- Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), serving until 2016
- Dianne Feinstein (D-California), up for re-election this year
- Barbara Boxer (D-California), serving until 2016
- Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana), serving until 2014
- Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), retiring at the end of this year
- Susan Collins (R-Maine), serving until 2014
- Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland), serving until 2016
- Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan), up for re-election this year
- Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota), up for re-election this year
- Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), up for re-election this year
- Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), serving until 2014
- Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), serving until 2016
- Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), up for re-election this year
- Kay Hagan (D-North Carolina), serving until 2014
- Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), retiring at end of this year
- Patty Murray (D-Washington), serving until 2016
- Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), up for re-election this year
Until 2013, California, New Hampshire, Maine, and Washington are the only states with two current female Senators. Of the above, Feinstein, Stabenow, Klobuchar, Gillibrand, and Cantwell are locks for re-election, setting the minimum number of female Senators in 2013 at 14. Let’s look at where they can make gains this cycle:
- Massachusetts: Elizabeth Warren is a formidable opponent. She has amassed nearly a $25 million war chest thus far. Beloved my the liberal grassroots.
- Wisconsin: U.S. Rep Tammy Baldwin has raised nearly $7 million for her campaign. She would become the first openly-gay U.S. Senator if she was to win.
- Nevada: U.S. Rep Shelley Berkley has raised almost $7 million as well, putting her on even-footing with her opponent.
- New York: Attorney Wendy E. Long is running against Kirsten Gillibrand (one of three female-on-female battles)
- California: Autism activist Elizabeth Emken is running against Sen. Feinstein but has failed to reach $1 million in funds, despite Feinstein losing $4.5 million stolen by her former treasurer
- Maine: State Sen. Cynthia Dill is running to replace Olympia Snowe but has failed to gain any traction behind Independent former Gov. Angus King
- North Dakota: State AG Heidi Heitkamp is running a strong campaign in a strong GOP state in a Republican year. She is one to watch. $1.8 million in a cheap media market.
- Hawaii: Both U.S. Rep Maze Hirono and former Gov. Linda Lingle are running in this open seat. Give or take, each candidate has raised about $4 million on the islands.
- New Mexico: the GOP’s strongest female candidate, former U.S. Rep Heather Wilson, has also raised about $4 million and is running competitively in this open seat.
- Connecticut: 2010 candidate Linda McMahon is once again running in this open-seat (again) and after pouring $50 million (!!!!) into her last campaign, she has $14 million right now (….with a $12 million loan)
If you ask me (and you did, because you’re still reading), I think more female Senators and U.S. Representatives is extremely good for this country. Female legislators tend to be less interested in partisan combat, more likely to cross the aisle, and bring a fresh perspective to Congress, often as leaders of households. Again, no jokes.
Oh and how many female Senators will there be in 2013? 16 is this man’s guess.
Those who know me know I supported Hillary Clinton in 2008 and Michele Bachmann in 2012. It is time for a woman to serve as President. Who will be the first female President, you ask me? (Which again, you did!) Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. In 2020.