Election Wrap Up by Women's Policy, Inc: Eleven Women Retired, Lost Their Primaries, or Left the House to Pursue Another Office
Election 2016 Wrap-Up (as of 12:30 p.m., November 9, 2016)
A highly contentious presidential campaign, coupled with questions about the control of Congress, made the 2016 election cycle one of the most closely followed in recent history. Although unsuccessful in her bid for the White House, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton became the first woman to become a major party presidential nominee.
When the 115th Congress convenes in January, there will be 109 women (including five delegates) serving in the Senate and the House. The Senate will remain in Republican control and, as of press time, will include 51 Republicans and 47 Democrats when it convenes in January. The number of women elected this year, 21, represents a net increase over the previous record of 20, and includes five Republicans and 15 Democrats. The race between Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) currently remains too close to call.
In addition to incumbent Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Patty Murray (D-WA), who won their reelection bids, three newly elected Senators will serve in the next Congress: Sens.-elect Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).
Senator-Elect Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
California will continue to be represented by two women Senators, as Sen.-elect Harris will replace Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who retired at the end of the 114th Congress. Regardless of the outcome in New Hampshire, it, along with Washington State, also will continue to be represented by two women in the Senate.
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), the longest-serving woman in congressional history, retired at the end of the 114th Congress. With her retirement and Rep. Donna Edwards’ (D-MD) loss in the primary election, Maryland will be without a woman in its congressional delegation for the first time since Sen. Mikulski's election to the House in 1977.
Republicans also will maintain control of the House, with a 239-193 advantage. Eighty-eight women (including the delegates from American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) will serve in the House in January, the same number as served in the 114th Congress. This number includes 23 Republicans and 65 Democrats.
Eleven women retired, lost their primaries, or left the House to pursue another office at the end of the 114th Congress. Reps. Lois Capps (D-CA) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) retired from Congress, while Reps. Corrine Brown (D-FL), Edwards, and Renee Ellmers (R-NC) lost their primary bids. Rep. Gwen Graham (DFL) left to pursue state office; Reps. Janice Hahn (D-CA) and Candice Miller (R-MI) left to pursue other elected offices. Rep. Duckworth will serve in the Senate; Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) were unsuccessful their Senate elections.
The 115th Congress will be the most diverse in the nation’s history, in part because women of color will increase their ranks in each chamber. Sen.-elect Harris will become the first South Asian and second African American woman to serve in the Senate, while Sen.-elect Cortez Masto will become the first Latina elected to the Senate. Sen.-elect Duckworth will join Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) as the only two Asian American women in the Senate.
Senator-Elect Kamala Harris, (D-CA)
In the House, Rep.-elect Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) will become the first woman and first African American to represent Delaware in Congress. Along with Rep.-elect Val Demings (D-FL), the number of African American women in the House will remain at 20 with the departures of Reps. Brown and Edwards.
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