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Tammy Baldwin (right) defeated her Republican rival Tommy Thompson (left) in a narrow election. Jeffrey Phelps/AP
US Senate

Wisconsin Democrat to become first openly gay member of Senate

Tammy Baldwin is projected to defeat her Republican rival Tommy Thompson, becoming the Senate’s first openly gay member.

THE US SENATE will soon see its first openly gay member, after a lesbian Democratic candidate took a landmark victory in Wisconsin.

Tammy Baldwin has held the seat being vacated by the retiring Herb Kohl, fending off the Republican challenge of Tommy Thompson in what was seen as a seat that was up for grabs.

The victory is seen as particularly impressive given that Thompson was governor of the state for 16 years – leaving his position to take up the job of Secretary of Health in the first cabinet of George W Bush.

State summarises, however, that Baldwin had wielded a major fundraising advantage and had pursued an aggressive advertising campaign to slam her Republican opponent.

The Guardian said Baldwin’s sexuality had not been a major issue in the campaign – with the senator-elect saying: “If you are not in the room, the conversation is about you; if you are in the room, the conversation is with you.”

Read: Democrats win back Ted Kennedy’s old Senate seat

More: Republicans will keep control of US House of Representatives

As it happens: Liveblog: US Election 2012

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