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Record Number of Women Nominated for Texas House Seats

Originally published by Erin Davis for Spectrum News 1

Democratic nominees outnumber those in the Republican Party. Republicans are trying to grow that number in order to diversify and reach more voters, but a traditionally small number of female representations in the GOP may be working against them. 

Currently, just 47 of 150 seats in the House are held by women. 

“The majority of women officeholders as well as candidates are Democrats,” said Kelly Dittmar with the Center for American Women and Politics. 

This November there will be 65 Democratic nominees on the ballot for a Texas House seat and 26 Republican women, a record for the GOP.

“Women tend to be a little bit more risk averse generally,” said Rep. Ellen Troxclair, R-Texas House District 19. 

Rep. Troxclair is one of the 11 Republican women incumbents compared to the 26 Democrats. She published a book, “Step Up: How to Advocate Like a Woman,” in order to encourage other conservative women run for office. 

“Not just because they’re women, but because they are qualified leaders in their communities and their families,” she said.  

Texas Democratic women say the recent limitations surrounding abortion access have led to a growing interest in their party. 

“The Republican women — bless their heart. They went and messed with Texas women badly this time. And our women are standing up for families being able to decide whether and when to have children,” said Susan Barrick with Texas Democratic Women. 

Political observers say abortion isn’t all women’s number one issue, and lower numbers in the Republican Party can be attributed to the parties’ ideologies. 

“You hear Republicans say things like we don’t play identity politics. We’re not going to check a box. This is a meritocracy,” said Dittmar. 

But some Republicans are pushing to get more women into the Texas House. 

“We really did put our money where our mouth was. And so on the one hand, it’s getting them, you know, financially there. But on the other hand, it’s a lot of training,” said Edith Jorge-Tunon with the Republican State Leadership Committee.  

In the Texas House, private school vouchers that would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send their kids to private school are once again expected to be a highly debated issue during the next legislative session. 

“Women are disproportionately caregivers, so they’re often more likely to raise questions about policies and budgetary issues that are in reference to those things,” said Dittmar. 

But women lawmakers are not a monolith as experts say the impact women representatives could have on the policy will depend on their background.

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