GOP Women, US Senate Side

Sarah Steelman narrowly lost the Republican Senate primary in Missouri yesterday, so now is a good time to update the prospects for GOP women in the upper chamber. Last week I gave you the status for the US House. (The big change on that side yesterday was the nomination of Ann Wagner in Missouri, who becomes the third likely gain of the cycle, against at least two departures.)

There are currently just 5 Republican women in the US Senate, and two of them -- Olympia Snowe of Maine and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas -- are retiring.

There are plenty of opportunities for additions. By my estimation there are some 16 races, out of 33 total, with at least a decent  chance of sending a new Republican to Washington. That includes some particularly good chances, like Arizona, Texas, Nebraska, and North Dakota, along with some other potentially winnable open seats and vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

It looks like a total of 6 women will be nominated in GOP primaries. Two appear to have no chance: Elizabeth Emken in California, and Wendy Long in New York.

One, Deb Fischer in Nebraska, is likely to win. Another, Heather Wilson in New Mexico, is considered a toss-up or a slight Democratic advantage depending on which pundit you favor. Linda Lingle, who should win the Hawaii primary later this week, is also considered a tossup or slight underdog. And in Connecticut, polls suggest that Linda McMahon will win the primary next Tuesday, but looks like a long-shot to win in November.

Bottom line: the Republican Senate caucus of roughly 50 members will probably include between 4 and 6 women -- remaining close to the 10% female composition that the GOP in both chambers seem stuck at.

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