Democratic outreach and issues proved pivotal
Just minutes after Wisconsin Democratic Sen. Herb Kohl announced his retirement after four terms in office, members of a group called Emily’s List say they had Tammy Baldwin on the phone. Baldwin, 50 and openly gay, had spent seven terms in the House but never ran for Senate.
“We think it’s your time,” Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily’s List, says she told Baldwin that day. And, Schriock says, “she agreed.”
From there Emily’s List, a political action committee that works to get Democratic female candidates elected, says it worked with Baldwin to help develop her strategy, staffing and budget decisions, as it does for many other female candidates.
And on Tuesday, Baldwin was successfully elected to the open Senate seat, beating Republican opponent Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin and becoming the nation’s first openly gay senator.
She also joined 19 other women elected to the Senate Tuesday — more women than have ever been elected to the upper house before. There are currently 17.