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Top Senate Democrat: 2012 Is Going to Be a Historic Year

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A top Senate Democrat proclaimed that “2012 is going to be a historic year” for women in the United States Senate and predicted scoring 11 victories for female candidates.

Sen. Patty Murray, the Washington Democrat who chairs the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, was upbeat about Democrats’ chances to gain back some ground they lost to Republicans in 2012 -- in spite of the reality of the tanking approval ratings for President Obama, and the fact that Democrats are defending far more seats than Republicans.

There are six female Democratic incumbent Senators facing re-election this year -- the greatest number of women candidates up for re-election ever in the Senate.  These Senators include Diane Feinstein in California, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, Amy Klobuchar in Minnesota, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, Kirsten Gillibrand in New York and Maria Cantwell in Washington.

Additionally, there are five female Democratic challengers running for Senate seats in five states: Rep. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Rep. Shelley Berkley in Nevada, Attorney General Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Rep. Mazie Hirono in Hawaii and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.

Murray expressed her strong confidence in all of these individuals at a briefing Tuesday, saying, “I have found great candidates in our women this year.”

So far in this cycle there has been a sense of optimism from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee about the Democrats' chances of taking back control of the House of Representatives. The reason for said optimism: the anti-incumbent, anti-majority sentiment that is so prominent among voters currently.

With Democrats falling into that majority category where Senate races are concerned, Murray was asked if she was concerned about said sentiment. She said she was not, explaining her belief that, "every one of these races is a competitive race in its own state where people compare candidates.”

The National Republican Senatorial Committee fired back, asserting that this election will indeed be a reflection on the direction of the Senate under Democratic leadership.

“Democrats lost seven Senate seats last cycle, and independent voters by wide margins, because their message and their candidates were to the far left of most voters in their states,” NRSC communications director Brian Walsh said in a statement. “So whether it’s in Wisconsin, Nevada, North Dakota, or elsewhere, it’s remarkable to watch history already begin to repeat itself. This election will be a referendum on the Democrats’ economy and every single Senate Democrat candidate is going to have a very tough time defending their record of 9% unemployment, a $15 trillion debt, and job-killing tax hikes on America’s small businesses.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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