The National Organization for Women offers heartfelt congratulations to all the feminist candidates who won last night and a sincere thanks to all the women’s rights supporters who showed up at the polls and made their voices heard.
Not only did we re-elect President Obama to a second term, but we increased the number of women in the U.S. Senate from 17 to a record 20 out of 100 senators.
Voters propelled women candidates to a number of exciting firsts this year. Elizabeth Warren is the first woman elected to represent Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate and takes the seat formerly held by the late Ted Kennedy. Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin is now the first openly lesbian or gay person elected to the Senate. Both Baldwin and Rep. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii are also the first women elected from their states to serve in the Senate. Hirono will serve as the first Asian-American woman in the U.S. Senate. NOW’s Political Action Committee proudly endorsed all three of these candidates, and NOW members traveled to Massachusetts and Wisconsin to work tirelessly for both Warren and Baldwin.
New Hampshire will go down in the record books as the first-ever state to have a woman governor and an all-female congressional delegation at the same time — thanks to NOW/PAC-endorsed candidates Carole Shea-Porter and Anne McLane Kuster both winning seats in the U.S. House.
In a hotly contested House race in Illinois, Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth prevailed with help from NOW’s grassroots activists. As a double-amputee, Duckworth will gain much-needed visibility for people with disabilities in leadership positions. NOW volunteers also ensured a victory for Cheri Bustos in Illinois. Both Duckworth and Bustos defeated Republican incumbents to win their House seats. Additionally, longtime NOW member and former mayor of West Palm Beach, Lois Frankel, won her House seat in Florida with lots of support from our members. In California, NOW activists worked tirelessly to re-elect our friend Lois Capps to the House as she faced a brutal onslaught of right-wing attacks.
NOW/PAC also was proud to support feminist men, such as newly elected Senators Tim Kaine and Chris Murphy and re-elected Senators Jon Tester and Sherrod Brown. NOW activists in Virginia, Connecticut, Ohio and Montana were instrumental in those victories.
Overall, more than 70 percent of NOW/PAC’s endorsed candidates won their races yesterday, with some still to be determined.
Voters also made history this year by approving ballot measures in Maine and Maryland that advanced marriage equality, while rejecting a Minnesota referendum that would have limited the freedom to marry to one man and one woman. Washington State’s ballot measure is still too close to call at this point, but it looks promising. This is the first time same-sex marriage has been upheld in statewide votes and the first time an anti-LGBT marriage amendment has been defeated in a statewide vote.
Women voters made the difference in all of these victories, from the top of the ticket on down — and NOW leaders are already gearing up to hold Congress accountable for the policies women support: the Paycheck Fairness Act, strengthening of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and essential social services, fair taxation of the wealthiest, comprehensive immigration reform and civil rights for all, including same-sex couples. We are determined to keep moving the country in the right direction. Next up on our To Do list is ending the war on women, and once we do that, the sky’s the limit!