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Tribune Editorial - We are women, hear us roar

Women played a major role in the recent election, and they made important strides in Congress.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics, the largest number of women ever will serve in the 113th Congress.

An all-time high total of 20 women (16 Democrats and 4 Republicans) will serve in the Senate, and there will be a record of at least 77 women (57 Democrats and 20 Republicans) in the U.S. House.

The only woman nominated for governor by a major party (Maggie Hassan, D-NH) won her contest.

New Hampshire became the first state ever to have an all-female Congressional delegation as well as a woman serving as the state's chief executive.

Women's votes were also decisive in Barack Obama's victory, according to an analysis of exit poll data by CAWP. 

A majority of women (55 percent) cast their ballots for Obama, while a majority of men (52 percent) voted for Gov. Mitt Romney, according to Edison Research.

Women's votes also made the difference in the outcomes of several high-profile races that helped Democrats retain control of the U.S. Senate, according to an analysis of Edison Research exit polls conducted by CAWP.

In seven high-visibility races where exit polls were conducted, men voted for the losing Republican candidate, while a majority of women cast their ballots for the winning Democratic candidate.

Democrats Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly in Indiana, Tim Kaine in Virginia, Jon Tester in Montana, and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts were all elected because of the votes of women.

In addition, in Connecticut, men split their votes evenly between Democrat Chris Murphy and Republican Linda McMahon, while women showed a clear and decisive preference for Murphy.

In the two U.S. Senate races where Republican candidates made controversial comments about rape, women's votes played important roles in the victories of the Democratic candidates.

In Indiana, a majority of women voted for Democrat Joe Donnelly, while a majority of men cast ballots for Republican Richard Mourdock.

In contrast, in Missouri, a majority of both men and women voted for Democrat Claire McCaskill, although women were 7 percentage points more likely than men to vote for McCaskill.

Susan J. Carroll, senior scholar at CAWP, observed, "The composition of the United States Senate in the 113th Congress would look very different if it were not for the votes of women in these races. It's clear that in a significant number of U.S. Senate races, women and men preferred different candidates and women's preferences prevailed."