Women have won major primary elections in the United States, which gave no clear indication of the direction the Republican and Democratic parties are headed.
Arkansas Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln was one of the winners Tuesday night, narrowly winning the Democratic nomination to a third term. She defeated Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter and asked for his support in the November election, when Republicans hope to challenge Democrats for control of Congress.
"We are going to move forward as Democrats tonight and into November to show the rest of this country that, as Democrats, we have a great passion, a passion for the diversity and a passion for the hard work that made this country great and will make it great again," said Lincoln.
Polls indicated many American voters were eager for change, as the election took place amid high national unemployment and the fallout of the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
A candidate popular with the conservative Tea Party movement, Sharron Angle, won the Republican nomination to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada, in what will be one of the most closely watched votes in November.
Women also notched important victories in Republican primaries in California, with former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina winning the Senate nomination, to face three-term Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer in November.
Another former executive, from the Internet company eBay, Meg Whitman won the Republican nomination for California's governor.
"You know, career politicians in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., be warned because you now face your worst nightmare - two businesswomen," said Whitman.
Whitman will face off against former governor Jerry Brown, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
Three dozen state houses will be up for election midway through President Obama's term.
Nikki Haley, who is also popular with the conservative Tea Party movement, came in first in the South Carolina Republican primary for governor, but without the 50 percent necessary to avoid a run-off later this month.