WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The number of women in the U.S. Congress likely will drop for the first time in three decades after the midterm elections, independent analysts predicted.
Analysts said a tough political climate for Democrats -- more female congressional members are Democrats -- and the nation's economic situation are the reasons for 2010 not being the Year of the Woman in congressional races, USA Today reported Monday.
The drop would come two years after a series of breakthroughs for women. Hillary Clinton was the first woman to seriously contend for the Democratic presidential nod, Republican Sarah Palin was the first woman nominated for national office -- vice president -- by the GOP and Democrat Nancy Pelosi became the first woman elected House speaker.
The number of female congressional members: 56 Democrats and 17 Republicans in the House and 13 Democrats and four Republicans in the Senate.
David Wasserman, who tracks House races for the non-partisan Cook Political Report, predicts the number of women in the House will drop after November's elections and the number of women in the Senate will dip or stay the same.
He told USA Today a loss at some level now seems "assured," something that hasn't happened since 1978.