Eight LGBT candidates are running for Congress – a new record – including the nation's first Senate candidate.

Wisconsin Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, and former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson are competing to replace retiring Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl.

According to a poll released last week, Baldwin has a 4 point lead, 47 to 43 percent. Two weeks ago, Thompson held a slim 1 point lead.

Mark Pocan, a small business owner and a Wisconsin state representative, is running to fill the 2nd Congressional seat being vacated by Baldwin. His Republican challenger, Chad Lee, ran an unsuccessful bid against Baldwin in 2010. Pocan, 48, married his husband, Phil, in Canada in 2006.

In Massachusetts, Richard Tisei is campaigning to become the House's first openly gay Republican member. Tisei has an unlikely ally in his corner: House Speaker John Boehner, an ardent opponent of gay rights. The 50-year-old realtor is challenging eight-term Congressman John Tierney, a Democrat.

“The fact that I'm gay hasn't really come up,” Tisei recently told the AP. “In Massachusetts, it's harder to be a Republican than it is to be a gay candidate.”

Kyrsten Sinema is looking to make history as the first openly bisexual member of Congress. The 36-year-old Democrat is competing against Republican Vernon Parker to represent Arizona's newly created 9th District, which includes portions of southern Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale. She is a former member of both chambers of the Arizona legislature.

Mark Takano is vying to become the first openly gay Asian-American in Congress. He faces Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione, a Republican, in a run for the new seat in California's 41st Congressional District, which includes the Inland Empire, a region located east of Los Angeles.

Takano says times have changed since he ran for Congress in 1992. That year, his opponent handed out hot pink campaign fliers with Takano's picture.

“People in America look forward,” Takano said. “It's part of our evolution as a country. You know, it's always been a story of more and more equality.”

In New York, Sean Patrick Maloney, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton, is running to replace incumbent Nan Hayworth, a moderate Republican with a record of supporting gay rights. Over the weekend, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo endorsed Maloney. Maloney and his partner of 20 years, Randy Florke, are raising three children.

Two openly gay House members, David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Jared Polis of Colorado, are expected to return next year.

Chuck Wolfe of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, a group which supports gay candidates, said attacks based on sexual orientation have become less common.

“I think the people who used to use sexual orientation as a wedge have learned that it backfires,” Wolfe said. “And the voters want to hear more about issues than they want to hear somebody attacking somebody about sexual orientation.”