With Tuesday’s primaries, women have hit another milestone in this record-breaking political year, setting a new record for the number of women who have secured a major party nomination for the U.S. House.
Democrats and Republicans have nominated 185 women to run for the House in November, as of Wednesday morning, according to the Center for Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
The figure breaks the prior record of 167 nominees set in 2016.
The total could still tick upwards in the coming days, as three more women are candidates House primaries that remain too close to call after Tuesday’s voting.
Fourteen states have yet to hold their primaries, and one still will hold a runoff, meaning the total number of women nominees could easily jump substantially by Election Day, further shattering that 2016 record.
CAWP had already determined that more women than ever have been running in congressional primaries this year. This latest development represents those women advancing closer to serving in a Congress where women are underrepresented. While women regularly represent more than half the electorate, they make up 20 percent of lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Overwhelmingly, the women running and the women nominated this year have been Democrats. Of those 185 women nominated for the House thus far, 143 — more than three-quarters — are Democrats.
That’s not unusual; Democratic women regularly outnumber Republican women in congressional elections. But Democratic women have been particularly energized since the election of Donald Trump. They were much more likely than Republican women to support the massive women’s marches that took place worldwide on the day after Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, and many women have said that his election inspired them to get involved in politics since then.
That enthusiasm has continued to play out for more than a year and a half since. And not only are Democratic women running more; they’re winning more. In open Democratic House primaries with at least one man and one woman running, women have won 69 percent of the time this year, according to data provided to NPR by the Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman. On the Republican side, women have won 34 percent of the time.
All of which is to say that the story here is about party in addition to gender. The number of Democratic men running for office likewise skyrocketed this year — in an April analysis, CAWP found that more than three times more men than women are running this year.
While women have set a record in U.S. House races this year, they have not yet gotten there in Senate contests. The current record is 18 women Senate nominees, set in 2012. Right now, 13 women are major-party nominees.
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