Kay Steiger

Kay Steiger is an associate editor at Talking Points Memo. She formerly worked at Raw Story, Washingtonian magazine, the Center for American Progress and The American Prospect. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, the Guardian, Jezebel, AlterNet and others. She graduated from the University of Minnesota. Contact her at

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With less than a week to go before Election Day, many of the handful of exceedingly close races could tip the Senate’s balance in one other respect: the number of women serving in the U.S. Senate.

In 2012, the number of women serving jumped to 20 — the highest it’s ever been at one time in U.S. history (there have only ever been 44). It was dubbed this generation’s Year of The Woman — a call back to 1992’s Year of the Woman after Anita Hill’s testimony spurred women into office — when the number of women in the Senate went up by five.

The current female senators are dominated by Democrats: just four of the current class of women in the Senate are Republicans, and one of them is Susan Collins, reliably one of the most moderate of Republicans in the chamber.

But those numbers could change on Tuesday.

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Outgoing Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is apparently refusing to give up his $2.4 million in leftover campaign cash to the DSCC to help elect a Dem in that state (despite Harry Reid's personal appeals).

Republican Thom Tillis, who is hoping to unseat Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) managed to call the social safety net "de facto reparations" while defending his vote in favor of apologizing for slavery. Takes some talent to do that.

Before running out to watch "Gone Girl" this weekend, be sure to take a minute to read Shannon Kelley's epic rant about the "Cool Girl" rant from the book that went viral. A sampling from Kelley's take:

And Cool Girl’s mission (besides being hot — the absence of which renders any girl, no matter how many burgers she’ll put down pre- or post-threesome — Not Really That Cool) is to leave the men surrounding her comfortable. Ergo, she is never angry, and is resolutely unruffled by those things that render so many other girls tragically Uncool, among them: thoughts, feelings, concerns about the patriarchy.

Above all, Cool Girl is unchallenging.

It's worth reading this piece from Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund Executive Director Jasjit Singh on the controversy surrounding a later-withdrawn penalty given to Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah for his "unsportsmanlike" touchdown celebration of kneeling in Muslim prayer. The NFL just demonstrated how it thinks about diversity:

Unfortunately the fans watching the game felt, if they, as a Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, or Buddhist have a different way of praying than let’s say Tim Tebow, who has become known for his trademark prayer stance, they too would be quickly and swiftly ostracized.

There's so much good stuff about Rep. Steve King (R-IA) in Sahil Kapur's profile today, but I especially like an anecdote in which, during his time in the state senate, he said to a female Democratic colleague: "You women don't understand — guns are for men what jewelry is for women."

When he asked that colleague, Johnie Hammond, about it she told TPM:

"There are so many things to be outraged about in Steve's philosophy. I mean, humanism! People! When he talks about calves like cantaloupes, what is that?!" Hammond recalls a conversation the two had back in the legislature when she chided him for using the term "pro-abortion," and he obliged. "Steve needs more of those conversations where you see the humanity in the Democrat."

It's a good read.

Though McDonnell wiped his tears and said his "trust remains in the Lord" as he left the courthouse after his guilty verdict on 11 counts of corruption, his trust will likely also remain in the legal appeals process and his lawyer said as much. Catherine Thompson looks at the grounds on which the McDonnells are likely to appeal. Mainly, they seem to center on what constitutes an "official act" and how the jurors were asked to interpret that question.

During the North Carolina debate tonight, Republican nominee Thom Tillis trotted out a new line of attack that his fellow Republican Senate candidate in Colorado, Cory Gardner, tried out this week too: Win over women voters by trying to seem in favor of greater access to contraception by pushing for over-the-counter access.

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