Record Number of Women Running in 2018- Why Geography Matters By Luke Perry
There is a record number of women running for office this year. While there is “no single explanation for the crush of female candidates flooding the field this year,” writes Heather Caygle of Politico, “reaction to Donald Trump’s presidency and the burgeoning #MeToo movement is certainly playing a part on the Democratic side.”
There has been a 127 percent increase among Democratic women running for office compared to a 28 percent increase among Republican women. In the 10 states to conduct primaries thus far, nearly half of women candidates have won.
Women now comprise 25 percent of state legislators, 26 percent of state house/assembly seats and 23 percent of state senate seats. This is higher than the U.S. Congress, where women comprise 20 percent, 19 percent in the U.S. House and 23 percent in the U.S. Senate.
But there is significant variance by state, ranging from a low of 14 percent in Oklahoma to a high of 40 percent in Arizona and Vermont. 11 states do not currently have a woman in their U.S. Congressional delegation.
The country is evenly divided between states that are above and below the national average of 25.4 percent of state legislatures being comprised of women. Exactly 25 states exceed the average. 25 states are below it.
There is a clear partisan dynamic in states where women are underrepresented in the state legislature: 84 percent of these states voted for Donald Trump in 2016. This helps explain how Donald Trump won and why geography is an important consideration in evaluating the electoral prospects for women candidates this November.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Chair and Professor of Government at Utica College.