Tammy Baldwin, a Wisconsin Democrat who stands a good chance of being the first openly gay candidate elected to the Senate, has a story she likes to tell about the event that propelled her into politics.
"I remember graduating from college, being very interested in public service yet wondering what I could aspire to be," she said in an interview. "It was that year , when I graduated from college, that Geraldine Ferraro was nominated for vice-president, and I watched in my first efficiency apartment, a little one-room place. I choked up and I thought at that moment: I can do anything. I can aspire to anything."