While the presidential race was obviously the centerpiece in this election season, the senatorial races had their own intensities, and no candidate was as profiled and followed as Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.
Long before her stirring speech at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte earlier this year, Warren had established her bona fides, particularly through her relentless attack on Wall Street and her call for regulation.
That same moxie and spunk were evident during her campaign against Republican Scott Brown, and the Harvard professor said she will live up to her campaign promises once she’s in the Senate. “The Senate should be a place to talk about the issues that are important to people’s lives,” she told the Huffington Post. “It’s just that straightforward.”
Equally straightforward and winning her first full six-term in office after being appointed to fill Hillary Clinton’s seat in 2010 is Kirsten Gillibrand. She soundly defeated her Republican challenger Wendy Long.
“My record is really about making sure there is a voice for the voiceless,” she told reporters, “to make sure those who don’t have advocacy programs are heard.”
Warren and Gillibrand are just two of several women now in the Senate. Currently, there are 17 women senators. Two of them, Olympia Snowe of Maine and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, both Republicans, have already stated they will be retiring.
However, if two women are stepping aside, six more may be on their way. One of the stunning setbacks for Democrats occurred in Nebraska, where two-term Sen. Bob Kerrey was defeated by Republican Deb Fischer. They were vying for an open seat.
However, Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat from Wisconsin, was victorious over the more renowned Republican Tommy Thompson, a former secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. She shares with Warren the distinction of being the first women to represent their state in the Senate.
Oh, yes, there were some key male victories for the Democrats in their secure hold on the Senate. One closely watched race was between the super-rich Republican Linda McMahon and Chris Murphy in Connecticut. Murphy came out on top and will occupy the seat vacated by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I). Viewers in the New York area became quite acquainted with McMahon’s spew of negative ads.
Republicans had certainly expected to retain the senatorial seat in Indiana with the candidacy of Richard Mourdock. However, Rep. Joe Donnelly upset him since Mourdock shot himself in the foot with his remarks about abortion in the case of rape. “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that is something that God intended to happen.” Well, God may have intended Mourdock to bite the dust.
Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri also enjoyed a victory over Republican Rep. Todd Akin, who believed there was such a thing as “legitimate rape.” He may now believe there is such at thing as a legitimate defeat.
Montana’s Jon Tester and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota are also in heated battles and may add to the Senate Democratic corps, with victories in contests still being counted.
There is no doubt about Sen.-elect Tim Kaine’s victory over Republican George Allen or Sen. Sherrod Brown’s triumph in Ohio over Josh Mandel. This latter race was particularly important because of the presidential race and its electoral votes. Their race for the Senate was almost as combative as Obama versus Romney, and like Obama, Brown was the victor. He will be in office two years longer than Obama.