HomeLearning CenterRecord-Breaking Number of Women Running for U.S. House and Governor

Record-Breaking Number of Women Running for U.S. House and Governor

In a little more than a month, we will know how many women get elected to Congress, to statewide executive offices, to state legislative seats, and to local positions across these United States. We will also see the results for ballot measures for ranked choice voting in Nevada, Seattle, Portland, Maine, and Portland, Ore. Evanston, & other jurisdictions. We’ll also learn the outcomes for women who are ranked-choice voting champions like Kate Stewart who is running for county council in Montgomery County, Md., and Representative Mary Peltola who is running for a full term in Alaska. Of course there is a lot at stake in this election so I hope that you are making plans to vote on or before Nov. 8.

Democrats Nominate More Women of Color To Run for House Seats Than GOP

According to data compiled by the Center for American Women and Politics, the Democratic party has nominated more women of color than the Republican party, as this story in Politico reports:

A record-high number of women of color — 263 — ran for the House this year. That includes 92 Republicans and 171 Democrats — a record for both parties. “As you see women of color succeed at this level, hopefully, it both inspires other women of color to run, but also proves to practitioners and donors and gatekeepers in the political system that these women are well poised to succeed,” Dittmar said.

In this data set, “women of color” includes women who identify as one or more of these categories, including women who identify as white with one of these other racial/ethnic identities: Black, Asian American/Pacific Islander, Latina/Hispanic, Native American/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian and Middle Eastern/North African. (CAWP no longer reports an aggregate “women of color” in their analyses, and instead breaks it down by race and ethnicity. You can view that data here.)

There’s a stark party divide when it comes to the number of women and women of color nominated in the primaries. But even though Democrats have higher numbers than Republicans, Republicans have seen notable gains compared to before the 2020 cycle. In 2018, 15 women of color from the Republican party were nominated in House primaries. That number more than doubled in 2020.

The Status of ‘Record-Breaking Wins’ for Women

In 2018, Republicans and Democrats combined nominated 16 women to be governor candidates. In 2022 this number has jumped to 25 (16 Democrats, nine Republicans).

Research associate Steph Scaglia found this article which says if enough of these women win, “the current record of nine female governors serving at the same time, first set back in 2004, could be broken.” 

New York, Massachusetts and Arkansas are likely to elect their first female governors. Georgia may elect their first woman governor, and Arkansas, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma and Rhode Island have the potential to be the first states to have women simultaneously in the offices of both governor and lieutenant governor.

But, as RepresentWomen noted in our annual 2022 Gender Parity Index, progress tends to be inconsistent. Outside of gubernatorial races, that is evident this year.

The number of female candidates running for Congress has dipped slightly compared to the record high levels reached in 2020 and the last midterm elections in 2018.

“For the past two cycles, much of the attention to women candidates (was) centered around the record number of women running for and winning office,” said CAWP Scholar and Director of Research Kelly Dittmar…

There is less attention being paid to women running, a decision that “really ignores the important ways in which gender is still shaping women’s decisions to, and experiences while running.” 

Inconsistent progress is normal, but shows that we must continue to push at full force in order to reach gender parity in government. See our numbers on women’s political representation at all levels of government here

Ms. Magazine

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