5. Elizabeth Warren – Former Chairman of the Congressional Oversight Panel; Former US Special Advisor to the President on Consumer Financial Protection; 2012 US Senate Democratic Candidate in Massachusetts
After establishing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Harvard Law Professor returned to Massachusetts to run for the United States Senate. Pundits were unsure how the intellectual elite would fare with blue collar Bay Staters, but a recent poll showed her inching ahead of her opponent US Senator Scott Brown.
4. Michele Bachmann– Member, US House of Representatives (R-Minn.); 2012 US Presidential Republican Primary Candidate; Former Minnesota State Legislator
The Minnesota Congresswoman became the first woman to ever win the Iowa Straw Poll. Although her polling numbers have faltered, she has still remained a darling of the Tea Party and is sure to be an influential figure in the Republican Party.
3. Hillary Clinton– US Secretary of State; Former US Senator (D-NY); Former First Lady of the United States.
The US Secretary of State’s recent speech in Geneva, calling for universal protection for the rights of the LGBTQ community across the World has raised a lot of eyebrows. Clinton stated “Being gay is not a Western invention; it is a human reality.” The Obama Administration has made it clear that the US will not allocate aid to countries, who continue to partake in or ignore violence against the gay and lesbian community.
2. Gabrielle Giffords –Member, US House of Representatives (D-AZ); Former Arizona State Legislator
The 3rd term US Congresswoman who was severely injured in a January shooting that killed six people, including a young girl. Not yet back to a full recovery, the Congresswoman has been lauded for her bravery and courage. It is still unclear if the Congresswoman will run again in 2012.
1. Patty Murray– US Senator (D-Wash.); Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; Former Co-Chair of the US Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (Super Committee).
All eyes have been on Patty Murray this year. After winning a fourth term in November, the senior Senator from Washington was selected by Harry Reid to head the political arm of Democratic Leadership in the US Senate – a job nobody wanted. Her 2011 recruitments have been incredibly successful – creating Democratic opportunities in Nevada, Massachusetts, and Arizona. And although the Super Committee were unable to reach an agreement, both sides of the aisle agree that Murray was an effective consensus builder.
Tammy Baldwin – the US Congresswoman from Wisconsin becomes the first openly homosexual person to run for the United States Senate. She is sure to win the Democratic Nomination to succeed retiring US Senator Herbert Kohl D-Wis. and will likely face a strong, conservative Republican opponent.
Kelly Ayotte – the Freshman Senator from New Hampshire is expected to rise quickly in party leadership, her strong conservative lean from a more moderate state, as well as her connections to the Tea Party, make her very attractive for the number 2 spot in 2012.
Nancy Pelosi – the US House Minority Leader has taken strong political stances this year, hoping it will blaze a trail to victory in 2012.
Kathy Hochul – the US Congresswoman unexpectedly won what was sure to be a Republican victory in upstate New York, forcing the GOP to rethink their strategy for 2012.
Janet Napolitano – the Secretary of Homeland Security has been at the center of every national security story this year from Osama bin Laden to illegal immigration reform.