MSNBC's '30 in 30' Women to Watch in 2014

  • As the youngest woman currently serving as secretary of state in the country, Alison Lundergan Grimes could replace Sen. McConnell in the Senate, the longest serving U.S. Senator in the history of Kentucky and the Senate Minority Leader. Former president Bill Clinton has campaigned for Grimes, endorsing her jobs plan. Grimes would become Kentucky’s first woman Senator.
  • Emily Cain would be the first Democratic woman to represent Maine’s 2nd Congressional District. Facing tea party candidate, Poliquin, a former state treasurer. Cain’s ad was chosen as TIME’s top 6 best political campaign ads of the summer. Cain is the youngest woman legislator in history to hold the House minority leader position in Maine. She outraised her opponent in 2nd quarter fundraising by $83,000. 
  • Monica Wehby – a Portland pediatric neurosurgeon with nearly 30 years of medical experience under her belt – was recently quoted saying “are you kidding” when asked if she’d be able to handle the pressures of the Senate. Wehby was the first woman to enroll and graduate from the UCLA neurosurgeon program. An endorsement from former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney helped her win the primary in May against state Rep. Jason Conger. If elected, she would become the first female Senator from Oregon in 47 years.
  • Sen. Kay Hagan’s re-election race was initially projected to be a tough one for the first-term incumbent, but a recent poll from Public Policy Polling shows Hagan ahead of Tillis 41% to 34% – marking the second month in a row she’s taking the lead. Hagan has targeted women voters throughout her campaign and has strong endorsements from EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood. The first bill she co-sponsored was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. She comes out on top with the women vote, according to the PPP poll, 44% to 27%. Hagan has shown support for Obamacare Medicaid expansion. 
  • Ann Callis is a former Madison County chief judge – the first female chief judge in Illinois’ third Judicial district. Callis started Illinois’ first special Veterans Court for Veterans facing legal issues and has since been an advocate for Veterans’ needs. Callis’s campaign has so far raised $1.3 million, about half of what her opponent’s campaign has accrued. 
  • Shelley Moore Capito is a congresswoman in the state’s Second District where she is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and chairwoman of the Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee. She was reelected to the House six times – and at one point, was the only Republican from West Virginia. If elected, Capito will become the first Republican senator from West Virginia in more than 50 years and the first female U.S. senator from the state. Capito, the daughter of former West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore, is a co-founder of the Congressional Coal Caucus and has been an advocate of the Keystone Pipeline.
  • Jeanne Shaheen is New Hampshire’s first female governor – and first female U.S. senator from the state – she is the first woman in U.S. history to be elected as both governor and senator. In a recent poll, Shaheen topped GOP candidate – and former Massachusetts senator – 50% to 42%. The incumbent Democrat is also ahead of her opponent in fundraising by nearly a million dollars in the second quarter.
  • Running as Gov. Scott Walker’s running mate, Rebecca Kleefisch – Wisconsin’s current lieutenant governor and former news reporter – made history when she became the first LG to face and survive a recall attempt. She has so far significantly outraised her opponent. Kleefisch, who has campaigned on and as LG zeroed in on job growth and veterans declared 2012 as “The Year of the Veteran.” At 37 years old, Kleefisch is a colon cancer survivor.
  • Wendy Davis – elected to the state Senate in 2008 – made waves last June when she stood for nearly 12 hours on the Senate floor to filibuster an anti-abortion bill that shut down multiple abortion clinics across Texas. Davis has been a huge supporter of abortion rights throughout her campaign for governor – she is the target of infamous nickname “Abortion Barbie.” Davis trails Attorney General Greg Abbott by eight points in a recent poll – the smallest gap in polling numbers so far  – and has been in par with fundraising totals. Davis’s campaign released its first TV attack ad this month against her Republican opponent. 
  • Amanda Renteria – the Senate’s first-ever Latina chief of staff – is focusing on drought and immigration during her campaign against a freshman tea party opponent in the 21st Congressional District. Renteria, who has previously worked for Senators Dianne Feinstein and Debbie Stabenow, was praised by President Obama this summer as an “outstanding candidate” during a fundraising event in San Francisco. 
  • Connie Pillich – an Air Force veteran with eight years of active duty –  is a ranking member of the Military and Veteran Affairs committee in the 28th Ohio House District. She is running against the current state treasurer. Her No. 1 priority if elected will be to safeguard Ohio’s tax dollars and protect the state’s pensions. 
  • Martha Coakley – the first woman to serve as Attorney General in Massachusetts – released her first TV ad this month saying she “stands up for women and children victimized by violence and abuse” and will “build an economy that works for everyone.” Coakley lost to then-State Sen. Scott Brown in a shocking upset in the 2010 U.S. Senate race. Coakley is currently on a “Moms for Martha” tour, where she is meeting with small groups of mothers to discuss issues that impact families.
  • A first-time House candidate, Aimee Belgard won her party’s nomination with 84% of the vote to challenge Republican Tom MacArthur – a former mayor in North Jersey – for a U.S House seat in New Jersey’s 3rd Congressional District. Belgard was elected to the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders in 2012. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker endorsed her, saying “I know she’ll be a powerful force to grow the economy, stand up for women, protect Social Security and Medicare, and work to ensure that our veterans are getting the care they deserve.”
  • Nina Turner, the minority whip for the Ohio senate and state senator for the state’s 25th district, has campaigned heavily on voting rights during her race for secretary of state against Republican Jon Husted. Turner launched the “Meet me at the Box” program this summer to stress early voting to Ohioans – she has previously called the GOP’s attempt to cut back early voting “immoral.” Turner would be the first African-American candidate elected to a statewide office. A July poll showed Turner and Husted neck and neck.
  • Lucy Flores, a Latina rising star in Nevada who overcame troubles at a young age – including being in a gang and dropping out of high school – has said, if elected, she will help every Nevadan “not just the privileged few.” The race has gotten attention as Nevada’s partisan power may depend on the outcome: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has supported Flores; the state’s Republican Governor Brian Sandoval is banking on a Hutchison win. Sandoval could potentially challenge Reid in 2016 – but it would mean giving up his governors seat, and passing it on to Flores could leave the Republican party weak if he then lost to Reid. Reid has spoken highly of Flores, saying “Demographically, she’s perfect: Young, dynamic, Hispanic.” 
  • Mary Burke made history when she became the first woman nominated by a major party for governor in Wisconsin. The latest poll out of Marquette Law School shows her in a dead heat against her Republican opponent, incumbent Scott Walker, at 47% to 46%. Burke previously served as Wisconsin secretary of commerce, and before that, worked for her family’s business, Trek Bicycle, now an international company. Burke has focused on public education, jobs and economic issues throughout her campaign. 
  • Cheri Bustos is vying to keep her seat in Illinois’ 17th District, facing Republican Bobby Schilling – a former congressman who she beat in 2012. Bustos – the first woman elected in the District – has supported raising the minimum wage earlier this year and has campaigned to get health care and good-paying jobs for veterans. Bustos is an original cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act.
  • Kate Marshall is the current Nevada treasurer. She was endorsed by EMILY’s List, where President Stephanie Schriock said “In this competitive election, Kate is the only candidate looking out for women and families in Nevada.” Marshall helped create the Nevada College Kick Start Program – the first ever state-run college savings account program – opening a $50 savings account for public school kindergarten students.
  • Kyrsten Sinema is running for reelection, vying to hold onto her U.S. House seat – she previously held a seat in Arizona’s state house and state senate. The first openly bisexual elected to Congress, Sinema has supported same-sex marriage and women’s rights in Arizona. Sinema’s known to reach the middle in the red state – she is the co-founder of the United Solutions Caucus, a bipartisan group of House freshmen working on solutions for both parties.
  • Gwen Graham – daughter of former Florida Governor and former U.S. Senator Bob Graham – is the Democratic nominee to challenge Republican Steve Southerland in Florida’s 2nd congressional district. A recent poll showed Graham with an edge, albeit small, over Southerland; however, both campaigns have come out with ads in recent weeks, which could alter poll numbers. Graham responded to a NRCC ad focusing on the candidate’s Obamacare support calling it “sad” and launched a new TV spot “Important” this week. 
  • Natalie Tennant – the first Democratic woman secretary of state in West Virginia history – faces Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito in a heated fight for Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s seat, a Democrat retiring after 30 years. Outspoken progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren championed Tennant at an event this summer. Tennant was also recently endorsed by The United Mine Workers of America (UMWA). If elected, she would make history as the first female senator in West Virginia.
  • Maura Healey – a former pro-basketball star – is vying to take over Martha Coakley’s seat as attorney general of Massachusetts. This is her first time running for office – she was previously a civil rights attorney and a prosecutor. Healey faces Democrat Warren Tolman, recently under fire for calling the candidate “unbecoming” in a recent debate. 
  • This is Mia Love’s second attempt at the Utah House seat in the 4th District. If elected, she would be first black female Republican in Congress and the first person of color to represent Utah. Love previously served as the mayor of  Saratoga Springs. A recent poll shows Love leading her Democratic opponent by 12 points.
  • Maggie Toulouse Oliver – previously the youngest female elected official in the state of New Mexico – has heavily campaigned on voting rights and expansion in the state. Oliver, who has served as Bernalillo County Clerk from 2007 to 2014, is fighting for the secretary of state seat against incumbent Dianna Duran – a Republican who supports voter ID. Chuck Todd on “The Daily Rundown” called Oliver a “rising Democratic star” in New Mexico.
  • Gina Raimondo – current general treasurer of Rhode Island – is one of four Democrats running for governor in the state. She has faced criticism – and a lawsuit – for making changes to the pension system, including increasing the retirement age. It has become the biggest talking point among the primary contenders. A recent poll shows Raimondo leading her opponents by at least five percentage points. A new ad highlighting Raimondo’s hand in job growth in the state debuted just after the poll was released. “This election is about which candidate is best equipped to create jobs and get Rhode Islanders back to work,” the ad says.
  • Bonnie Watson Coleman – the first African-American house majority leader of the NJ general assembly and first African-American woman to win the democratic nomination – has fought to increase minimum wage and increase jobs in the state. She was recently endorsed by the New Jersey Education Association. Coleman stood with Democratic National Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz on Monday to slam Gov. Chris Christie on the one year anniversary of “Bridgegate,” once again calling for his resignation. If elected, Coleman would be the first woman elected to Congress in New Jersey in over 30 years.
  • Alma Adams – a Democrat running for a U.S. House seat in North Carolina facing Republican Vince Coakley – won a seven-way primary in May. Adams has fought for equal pay, raising the minimum wage, and is famous for her diverse hat collection. North Carolina hasn’t elected a new Democratic woman to the House in over 20 years.
  • Staci Appel is a Democrat running for a U.S. House seat in Iowa, one of only two states that have not yet elected a woman to Congress. A Wednesday poll saw the candidate – who says she will bring “Mom Common Sense” to the table – leading her Republican opponent David Young by six points. 
  • This is Young Kim’s first time running for office – and in California’s crucial 65th District. Kim faces Democrat incumbent Sharon Quirk-Silva, marking the first time voters will be choosing between two women in the district. Kim – endorsed by Rep. Ed Royce and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, among others – was selected as a top recruit in the RSLC’s Future Majority Project. 
  • Senator Mary Landrieu – the first female U.S. Senator from Louisiana and first woman to head the Energy and Natural Resources Committee – faces Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy in a tight reelection race that could determine Democratic control in the Senate. Her brother, Mitch Landrieu, is mayor of New Orleans – a position her father, Maurice “Moon” Landrieu, previously held. Landrieu has distanced herself from the Obama administration throughout the 2014 campaign, including showing support for the Keystone XL oil pipeline and in one of her first ads of the cycle offering a “fix” to Obamacare. The Senator recently came under fire for using taxpayers’ money to fund charter flights throughout her campaign. After a review issued by her team was completed, the federal government was reimbursed. 


To showcase a year of textbook races for women, msnbc introduced ’30 in 30,’ a new series where the 30 of the most dynamic women candidates seeking office in 2014 were spotlighted: One a day over 30 days. The candidates – Democrat and Republican – answered questions based on women’s issues and being a woman in a male-dominated industry. Check out all 30 here!

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