Baldwin seizes victory, first female Wis. senator

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“Tonight, at the end of a long and hard-fought campaign, we have won a huge victory for Wisconsin’s middle class,” Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) said during her victory speech.

Baldwin has beaten former Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) in the race for a seat in the United States Senate making her the first openly-gay senator.

If Thompson had won, Republicans would have held both state Senate seats for the first time since the 1950s.

According to Politico.com, when Wisconsin was reporting at 96.1 percent, Baldwin had 1,417,862 votes making up 50.8 percent of the overall vote.

Baldwin’s victory over Thompson marks the first time in Wisconsin history a woman holds the Senate seat.

Even though Baldwin won in Wisconsin overall, she did not defeat Thompson in Walworth or Jefferson Counties, which Whitewater is apart of.

In Walworth County, Thompson received 54.7 percent of the votes and in Jefferson County Thompson received 53.8 percent.

In her victory speech, Baldwin said she did not run to make history, instead she ran to make a difference. She said she wants to make a difference in the lives of families struggling to pay bills, in the lives of students worried about debt and seniors worried about retirement.

“Make no mistake.  I’m proud to be a Wisconsin progressive,” Baldwin said. “I believe in holding the powerful accountable. I believe in fair play. I believe that when people are struggling, you don’t talk down to them, you help lift them up. And I believe in Wisconsin’s workers and a work ethic that I will fight for everyday.”

Baldwin has held a political seat since 1986 when she was elected to the Dane County Board of Supervisors. Since then Baldwin has also served as a state assemblywoman and most recently a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Thompson severed as governor from 1987 to 2001 before stepping down to become a part of President George W. Bush’s administration as health secretary.

According to the non-partisan Campaign Finance Institute, the Baldwin-Thompson race was among the most expensive Senate races in the country.

Baldwin is succeeding retired Sen. Herb Kohl.

“Now that the campaign is behind us, it is time for us all to come together and focus on the challenges we all face,” Baldwin said.