Michelle Nunn’s race could prove decisive in whether women hold on to historic gains in U.S. Senate seats along with keeping the chamber under Democrat control.

In 2012, women won 11 Senate seats – 10 by Democrats – to reach an all-time high of 20. Nunn’s race is among a handful likely to determine whether women increase their Senate numbers, remain at the same level or lose ground. Women hold nearly a third of Senate Democrat seats,16 out of 53. and could increase that percentage along with corresponding influence over party policy.

After the Hobby Lobby and other Supreme Court decisions, women advocates see keeping the Senate under Democrat control as vital, especially if President Obama makes make another Supreme Court nomination.

With incumbent Democrats Mary Landrieu in Louisiana and Kay Hagan in North Carolina endangered, Nunn’s race gains more importance. In Kentucky, Democrat challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes looks to have a fair chance of defeating Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. 

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