There will be at least 85 voting women members of the Congress in January 2011: at least 70 members of the House plus three nonvoting delegates and at least 15 senators. Four House races with women candidates are still too close to call as are two Senate races with women candidates (Senator Patty Murray and Senator Lisa Murkowski). If women win all the remaining races, there will be neither a gain nor a loss in the percentage of women members in Congress. If they lose, there will be a one and a half percent loss.
Eight Republican women newcomers won in the House -- one is a woman of color. They include Martha Roby (AL-2); Sandy Adams (FL-24); Vicky Hartzler (MO-4); Nan Hayworth (NY-19); Renee Ellmers (NC-2); Christy Noem (SD-AL); Diane Black (TN-6); Jaime Herrera (WA-3). No Republican incumbents lost in the House.
Four Democratic women newcomers won in the House -- all four were women of color. In total, nine Democratic women House Members lost: Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1); Betsy Markey (CO-4); Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24); Debbie Halvorson (IL-11); Dina Titus (NV-3); Carol Shea-Porter (NH-1); Mary Jo Kilroy (OH-1); Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3); Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (SD At Large). All but Dahlkemper were strong supporters of reproductive rights.
Five new women of color won their House races: Terri Sewell (D-AL) winning Davis' seat, who ran for governor; Karen Bass (D-CA) winning retiring Diane Watson's seat; Colleen Hanabusa winning Neil Abercrombie's seat, who won his race for governor; Frederica Wilson (D-FL), who won the seat of Kendrick Meek, who lost his bid for the Senate; and Jaime Herrera (R-WA), who won an open seat of a retiring Democrat.
In the Senate, the only woman incumbent to lose thus far was Blanche Lincoln (D-AR). Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), endorsed by Sarah Palin and a strong opponent of reproductive choice, will be the only woman newcomer in the Senate.
Media Resources: Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey 10/25/10; Statement of Eleanor Smeal 11/4/10