It's a Big Night for Women in the US Senate

November 8th 2016

Laura Donovan

California Attorney General Kamala Harris, attorney Catherine Cortez Masto, and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) were just elected into the U.S. Senate. This makes Harris the first Indian woman and the second black woman to hold a place in the Senate, Masto the first Latina to be elected into the Senate, and Duckworth the first Thai-American in the Senate. 

Masto beat Republican opponent Joe Heck in Nevada, and Harris beat Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez to take the seat of Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California), who is retiring. As Sacramento local news station KCRA 3 noted earlier this month, the race between Sanchez and Harris was the first one in 100 years without a Republican candidate on the ballot in the general election.

Duckworth beat Republican opponent Sen. Mark Kirk. In 2012, she was the first Asian-American from Illinois to be elected to Congress, and she is also the first disabled female veteran to serve in Congress. She lost both of her legs while fighting in the Iraq war. 

Only 20 women currently serve in the Senate, and less than 50 women have ever served in the Senate, according to the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics.

Leading up to the election, a number of people noted the historical significance of a potential win by Masto and Harris: