Democratic Representative Tammy Baldwin won Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race over former Governor Tommy Thompson, a Republican, making her the state’s first female senator.
Baldwin will take the seat of retiring Democratic Senator Herb Kohl. Thompson was the state’s longest-serving governor and former U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services under President George W. Bush. He won his party’s four-way primary by 3 percentage points.
“Tonight we have won a huge victory for Wisconsin’s middle class,” Baldwin told supporters. “I didn’t run to make history, I ran to make a difference.”
Baldwin, a Madison-born lawyer with strong approval ratings from groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and Americans for Democratic Action, will become the first openly gay senator. Sexual orientation was rarely discussed in the campaign, which centered on the economy and the loss of manufacturing jobs in the state.
President Barack Obama also won Wisconsin, capturing a state that has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 1988. In June, Republican Governor Scott Walker survived a recall vote in the polarized state of 5.7 million people.
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