MADISON (WKOW) -- History was made when Democrat Tammy Baldwin defeated Republican Tommy Thompson to win Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat.
Baldwin is the first woman to represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate and also becomes the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate.
While Baldwin made a point of mentioning both of those facts, she also said she did not run to make history, but rather, to make a difference. "A difference in the lives of families struggling to find work and pay the bills, a difference in the lives of students worried about debt And seniors worried about their retirement security, a difference in the lives veterans who fought for us and need someone fighting for them A difference in the lives of entrepreneurs trying to build a business and working people trying to build some economic security."
Baldwin also asked Thompson supporters to join her in the belief that we are all in this together. But she also said, "Make no mistake, I am a proud Wisconsin progressive and I believe in holding the powerful accountable."
MADISON (WKOW) -- Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin has won Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat.
Baldwin defeated former Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson on Tuesday for a seat that's been held by Democrats since 1957. With the victory, Baldwin also becomes the first openly gay candidate to win election to the Senate.
The seven-term congresswoman from Madison built her campaign around the argument that the 70-year-old Thompson no longer spoke for Wisconsin residents.
Baldwin noted that the four-term governor, who hadn't been on a ballot in 14 years, made millions of dollars in the private sector off connections he made while governor and U.S. health secretary.
Thompson had attacked Baldwin as too liberal for Wisconsin, focusing on her position on health care reform.
His defeat marks Thompson's first ever loss in a statewide election.
MADISON (WKOW) -- Democrats are looking to Representative Tammy Baldwin to prevent Wisconsin's open U.S. Senate seat from falling into Republican hands.
Baldwin held a slight lead over former Governor Tommy Thompson coming into election day.
If you were to average the most recent polls, Baldwin carried about a two point lead into Tuesday. But there are still enough undecided voters to make the race too close to call.
One voter who is not undecided is the candidate herself. Tammy Baldwin cast her ballot at the Madison Municipal building Tuesday morning.
Baldwin trailed Thompson in August, but a strong television ad presence from Baldwin carried her to a lead in the polls by September. Thompson has since countered Baldwin's ads to draw closer.
Overall spending on the race has topped $65 million.
Baldwin hopes her extensive campaign schedule over the past two weeks will be enough to lift her to victory Tuesday night.
"I'm very excited that I've gotten a chance over the last few days to travel the state to thank the tireless volunteers who are helping talk to their neighbors and get people out to vote," Baldwin said. "Today's the day, so, I'm very excited!"
There are all kinds of historical aspects to this race for Baldwin.
If she wins, she would become the first woman to ever represent Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate and she would also become the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate.
Baldwin has served as the Congresswoman for Wisconsin's Second District since 1998. This is her first run for a higher office.
27 News' Greg Neumann is at the Monona Terrace tonight to cover her election night party there. We'll have live updates throughout the night and on 27 News at 10.