Democrat Tammy Baldwin has become the first openly gay member of the US Senate, beating Republican Tommy Thompson in the senate race for Wisconsin.

Ms Baldwin tweeted from her official account after her win: “I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference”.

After announcing her run for the US Senate in September of last year, Joe Solmonese of the Human Rights Campaign said: “Tammy Baldwin’s candidacy for the US Senate is monumental for both the state of Wisconsin and the country’s LGBT community”.

He added: “Tammy has proven herself as an effective legislator over the course of her 13 years in congress.”

The 50-year-old is described as a strong supporter of LGBT, women’s rights and has pushed heavily for healthcare reform.

She was a staunch critic of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, America’s previous ban on openly gay members of the armed forces.

Ms Baldwin was first elected to political office in 1986 on the Dane County Board of Supervisors in Madison, Wisconsin.

She had previously served as the US Representative for Wisconsin’s 2nd congressional district.