Tammy Baldwin, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Wisconsin and the first openly gay candidate to win a seat in the chamber, called her win over Tommy Thompson a victory for the middle class.
In her victory speech, Baldwin, D-Madison, hit on many of the themes that were central to her campaign, railing against special interests who have too much power and promising to work for a level playing field that will ensure the wealthy don’t play by a separate set of rules compare to middle-income Americans.
She recounted conversations she’s had on the campaign trail with voters who told her special interests have too much power and it was time for the people’s voice to be heard.
“The peoples’ voice was heard tonight, Wisconsin, and come January, your voice will be head in the United States Senate,” she said. "I am honored and humbled and grateful and ready to get to work."
Baldwin noted she will be the first female senator from Wisconsin, drawing a cheer from the crowd. She then told supporters she was “well aware” that she will also be the first openly gay member of the Senate. That prompted an even louder cheer from the crowd that ended with chants of “Tammy! Tammy!”
“But I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference,” she said.
“But in choosing me to tackle those
challenges, the people of Wisconsin have made history,” she said,
after saying she will work to represent struggling families,
students, seniors, veterans, entrepreneurs and workers.
“I can't tell you how grateful I am
for the trust you've placed in me,” Baldwin said. “And all I can
do is work as hard as I can to keep trust.”
Baldwin, who left her 2nd CD seat to run for the office, reached out to those who did not vote for her in the race with Thompson.
“I will stand up for you and I ask
you to work with me as we move this state forward,” Baldwin said.
“I will be a senator for all of Wisconsin.”
She also recounted meeting Thompson for the first time when she was a 30-year-old freshman in the state Assembly and her GOP opponent was guv. She said Thompson was greeting freshmen at the executive residence when she told him she was Joe Baldwin’s daughter, who passed away before she was born. Thompson knew her father in college, and Baldwin said his face lit up at the mention of her father. From then on, he would often share various memories he had of her father.
“That meant the world to me. Tommy and I didn’t always agree,” Baldwin said, drawing a laugh. “In fact in this campaign we didn’t agree on much. But there can be no doubt he shares my love and all of our love for Wisconsin.”