The Reason This Election Could Be Huge for Women

August 26th 2016

Lucy Tiven

Hillary Clinton's nomination was a monumental victory for women in politics, but she isn't the only female candidate who could have a historic win in November's election.


Female Democratic candidates in down-ballot races (i.e. political races beyond the presidential race) may also play a crucial role in their party's efforts to retake control of the Senate, the Guardian reports.

In five out of the seven swing states, Democrats have a chance of snatching seats from the GOP — with female candidates.

maggie hassan

The five women vying for these seats are Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (pictured above), former state Rep. Deborah Ross (D-NC), and Katie McGinty (D-Penn), a former environmental advisor to Vice President Al Gore and President Bill Clinton. Polls also show that former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) is also running a close race against Rep. Joe Heck (R-NV).

If two or more of these six women win their respective races, the next Senate would include the most women in all of U.S. history.

As it stands, there are 20 female Senators — the current record — but one of these women, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is retiring and likely to be succeeded by Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Jezebel explains. If all six women are victorious, a quarter of U.S Senators would be female, a monumental victory for women in politics.

Democratic victories in swing state senate races look increasingly likely as Donald Trump drops in the polls.

As ATTN: has reported previously, when Trump plunges in the polls, he threatens to take down-ballot Republican candidates with him. This puts them in an awkward position: It's dangerous to embrace Trump when he is polling poorly, but GOP candidates who disavow Trump risk alienating his base or encouraging Republican voters to stay home.


So many of these candidates, like New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk, and have been doing a kind of back-and-forth dance. Ayotte earned harsh criticism from Trump when she declined to endorse him formally but said she would vote for him, while Kirk endorsed Trump and then rescinded his endorsement. This is not going very well for either of them.

An August 10 CBS News/YouGov poll had Hassan leading Ayotte by one point, while — though limited polls have done in Illinois, a late July conservative poll had Duckworth and Kirk almost tied, the Guardian explains.

Women comprise over half of the population in the United States — 51 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation — so it's heartening to see they are getting more of a voice in American politics.