Women in the Senate

Female Senators in the United States Senate

United States Capitol Building
United States Capitol Building. Steve Allen/Stockbytes/Getty Images

Women have served as United States Senators since the first in 1922, who served briefly after an appointment, and 1931, with the first election of a female Senator. Women Senators are still a minority in the Senate, though their proportion has generally increased over the years.  

For those who took office before 1997, more details are provided about how they were selected for their Senate seat.

Women in the Senate, listed in order of their first election:

Name: Party, State, Years served

  1. Rebecca Latimer Felton: Democrat, Georgia, 1922 (a courtesy appointment)
     
  2. Hattie Wyatt Caraway: Democrat, Arkansas, 1931 - 1945 (first woman elected to a full term)
     
  3. Rose McConnell Long: Democrat, Louisiana, 1936 - 1937 (appointed to vacancy caused by the death of her husband, Huey P. Long, then won special election and served not quite a year; she did not run for election to a full term)
     
  4. Dixie Bibb Graves: Democrat, Alabama, 1937 - 1938 (appointed by her husband, Governor Bibb Graves, to fill a vacancy caused by resignation of Hugo G. Black; she resigned less than 5 months later and did not run as a candidate in the election to fill the vacancy)
     
  5. Gladys Pyle: Republican, South Dakota, 1938 - 1939 (elected to fill vacancy and served less than 2 months; was not a candidate for election to a full term)
     
  6. Vera Cahalan Bushfield: Republican, South Dakota, 1948 (appointed to fill vacancy left by the death of her husband; she served less than three months)
     
  1. Margaret Chase Smith: Republican, Maine, 1949 - 1973 (won a special election to win a seat in the House of Representatives to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband in 1940; was reelected four times before being elected to the Senate in 1948; she was reelected in 1954, 1960 and 1966 and was defeated in 1972 -- she was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress)
     
  1. Eva Kelley Bowring: Republican, Nebraska, 1954 (appointed to fill vacancy caused by the death of Senator Dwight Palmer Griswold; she served just under 7 months and did not run in the subsequent election)
     
  2. Hazel Hempel Abel: Republican, Nebraska, 1954 (elected to serve the term left by the death of Dwight Palmer Griswold; she served almost two months after the resignation of Eva Bowring, as noted above; Abel also did not run in the subsequent election)
     
  3. Maurine Brown Neuberger: Democrat, Oregon, 1960 - 1967 (won a special election to fill the vacancy left when her husband, Richard L. Neuberger, died; she was elected for a full term in 1960 but did not run for another full term)
     
  4. Elaine Schwartzenburg Edwards: Democrat, Louisiana, 1972 (appointed by Gov. Edwin Edwards, her husband, to serve to fill the vacancy left by Senator Allen Ellender's death; she resigned about three months after her appointment)
     
  5. Muriel Humphrey: Democrat, Minnesota, 1978 (appointed to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband, Hubert Humphrey; she served just over 9 months and was not a candidate in the election to fill the reset of her husband's term)
     
  6. Maryon Allen: Democrat, Alabama, 1978 (appointed to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband, James Allen; she served for five months and failed to win the nomination for the election to fill the rest of her husband's term)
     
  1. Nancy Landon Kassebaum: Republican, Kansas, 1978 - 1997 (elected to a six year term in 1978, and was reelected in 1984 and 1990; did not run for reelection in 1996)
     
  2. Paula Hawkins: Republican, Florida, 1981 - 1987 (elected in 1980, and failed to win reelection in 1986)
     
  3. Barbara Mikulski: Democrat, Maryland, 1987 - present (failed to win election to the Senate in 1974, was elected five times to the House of Representatives, then was elected to the Senate in 1986, and continued to run each six year term through the present)
     
  4. Jocelyn Burdick: Democrat, North Dakota, 1992 - 1992 (appointed to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband, Quentin Northrop Burdick; after serving three months, she did not run in the special election nor in the next regular election)
     
  5. Dianne Feinstein: Democrat, California, 1993 - present (failed to win election as California's governor in 1990, Feinstein ran for the Senate to fill Pete Wilson's seat, then continued to win reelection)
     
  1. Barbara Boxer: Democrat, California, 1993 - present (was elected five times to the House of Representatives, then was elected to the Senate in 1992 and was reelected each year, serving until her retirement date of January 3, 2017)
     
  2. Carol Moseley - Braun: Democrat, Illinois, 1993 - 1999 (elected in 1992, failed reelection in 1998, and failed in a presidential nomination bid in 2004)
     
  3. Patty Murray: Democrat, Washington, 1993 - present (elected in 1992 and was reelected in 1998, 2004 and 2010)
     
  4. Kay Bailey Hutchison: Republican, Texas, 1993 - 2013 (elected in a special election in 1993, then reelected in 1994, 2000, and 2006 before retiring rather than run for reelection in 2012)
     
  5. Olympia Jean Snowe: Republican, Maine, 1995 - 2013 (elected eight times to the House of Representatives, then as a Senator in 1994, 2000, and 2006, retiring in 2013)
     
  6. Sheila Frahm: Republican, Kansas, 1996 (first appointed the seat vacated by Robert Dole; served almost 5 months, stepping aside for someone elected in the special election; failed to be elected to the remaining term of the office)
     
  7. Mary Landrieu: Democrat, Louisiana, 1997 - 2015
     
  8. Susan Collins: Republican, Maine, 1997 - present
     
  9. Blanche Lincoln: Democrat, Arkansas, 1999 - 2011
     
  10. Debbie Stabenow: Democrat, Michigan, 2001 - present
     
  11. Jean Carnahan: Democrat, Missouri, 2001 - 2002
     
  12. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Democrat, New York, 2001 - 2009
     
  13. Maria Cantwell: Democrat, Washington, 2001 - present
     
  14. Lisa Murkowski: Republican, Alaska, 2002 - present
     
  15. Elizabeth Dole: Republican, North Carolina, 2003 - 2009
     
  16. Amy Klobuchar: Democrat, Minnesota, 2007 - present
     
  17. Claire McCaskill: Democrat, Missouri, 2007 - present
     
  18. Kay Hagan: Democrat, North Carolina, 2009 - 2015
     
  19. Jeanne Shaheen: Democrat, New Hampshire, 2009 - present
     
  20. Kirsten Gillibrand: Democrat, New York, 2009 - present
     
  21. Kelly Ayotte: Republican, New Hampshire, 2011 - present
     
  22. Tammy Baldwin: Democrat, Wisconsin, 2013 - present
     
  23. Deb Fischer: Republican, Nebraska, 2013 - present
     
  24. Heidi Heitkamp: Democrat, North Dakota, 2013 - present
     
  1. Mazie Hirono: Democrat, Hawaii, 2013 -
     
  2. Elizabeth Warren: Democrat, Massachusetts, 2013 - present
     
  3. Shelley Moore Capito: Republican, West Virginia, 2015 - present
     
  4. Joni Ernst: Republican, Iowa, 2015 - present
     

More on women in the US Senate

Women's history biographies, by name:

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