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Large number of women seeking Senate seats

Oct. 20, 2011 at 7:54 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- A near-record number of women are likely to run for the U.S. Senate next year but that may not result in more female senators, political experts say.

While the Democratic Party is expected to have at least 10 women running, including six incumbent senators, the Republicans may have only two, Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, who is seeking a fourth term in the Senate, and former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, The New York Times reported. That means a repeat of the Republican victories in 2010 could actually reduce the number of women in the upper house.

Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University in New Jersey, said a majority of female officeholders across the country are Democrats.

"If it is a bad year for Democrats, it could be a bad year for women in the Senate," she said. "It is still early. Right now the numbers are lining up in such a way that it could go either way."

One female senator is retiring, Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas.

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