Expanding Leadership Opportunities for Women Veterans

By Jean Sinzdak, Director, Program for Women Public Officials, Center for American Women and Politics

ernstIn January, Joni Ernst (R-IA) will be among the 104 women serving in the 114th US Congress.  In addition to being the first woman elected to represent Iowa in Washington, Ernst made history in November as the first woman veteran elected to serve in the US Senate.  She will join fellow veterans Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who made history in 2012 as the first female combat veterans elected to serve in the US House, and Martha McSally, who was elected to the House this year from Arizona. With these additions, six women veterans will have served in Congress. (Former Representatives Catherine Small Long (D-LA), Heather Wilson (R-NM), and Sandy Adams (R-FL) round out the group.)

mcsallyCAWP’s research indicates that women bring different priorities and experiences to public life, and women officeholders help make government more transparent, inclusive and accessible. Women public officials – elected and appointed – have an impact on public policy that ultimately affects the entire population of the state, region and nation. Today there are an estimated 2.2 million female veterans, and they represent one of the fastest growing segments of the veteran population – about 10 percent of the total 22 million veterans in this country.   Women veterans have already put their country first by serving in the military; they are exactly the kind of people we need as public leaders. And recognizing the distinctive experiences of women in the armed services, it’s clear that women vets will bring especially valuable insights to Congress.

CAWP has partnered with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Center for Women Veterans to help women veterans develop skill sets to prepare them for public and community service opportunities within their communities. The Center for Women Veterans, created in 1994 to monitor the VA’s administration of benefits and services to women Veterans and to advise the Secretary on the VA policy’s impact on Women Veterans, will advise CAWP on how it focuses its resource information to address women veterans’ issues.  “Women veterans often contact us for information about how they can continue serving,” says Elisa M. Basnight, director of the Center for Women Veterans. “This agreement with CAWP presents a prime opportunity for the Center to help prepare them for other forms of public service as it responds to a persistent need women veterans tell us they have, which is the desire to continue to make a difference after the uniform.”

CAWP is also partnering with Veterans Campaign, a program of the National Association for Uniformed Services, on a female leadership workshop at their Veterans Campaign Training, which will be held on Feb. 21-25, 2015 in Washington, DC.  In addition, women veterans (and any women!) can attend one of the Ready to Run® programs hosted by CAWP or our partners around the country – upcoming programs can be found here.  Additional campaign trainings and leadership programs can be found on CAWP’s national Political & Leadership Resources for Women map.

For more information about and other resources for women veterans, you can also visit the Center for Women Veterans.

Breaking Even: Women in the U.S. Senate

Slide2It’s official. We started election 2014 with 20 women in the U.S. Senate and we will enter the 114th Congress with 20 women in the U.S. Senate. With Senator Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) defeat this weekend, the status quo is upheld. However, the make-up of the women members will be different in 2015. Two new women senators were elected in 2014, including Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and State Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA). They take the place of two women who were defeated in their bids for re-election: one-term incumbent Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and three-term incumbent Mary Landrieu (D-LA).  As a result, the partisan make-up of the women senators will shift from 80 to 70 percent Democratic; 14 Democratic women and 6 Republican women will serve in the 114th Congress. And while no records were broken for the number of women candidates, nominees, or winners in U.S. Senate races this year, both female newcomers do make history as the first female Senators from their states. In fact, Ernst becomes the first woman ever sent to Congress from the state of Iowa. Together, Capito, Ernst, and the 4 current Republican women senators will make up the largest class of Republican women to serve at one time in the U.S. Senate.

Incumbents Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Susan Collins (R-ME) were re-elected in 2014, but only 4 of 15 total female Senate nominees were successful this year. This year’s four female winners join the 16 women senators not up for re-election this year, including only one woman of color: Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI).

While many celebrated the jump to 20 women in the Senate after the 2012 elections, election 2014 serves as a reminder that the pace of progress for women in the U.S. Senate is inconsistent and, most striking, slow. That pace is unlikely to quicken without a steady increase in the number of women candidates filing for competitive seats and making it through their primaries.

womeninsenateThe balance of gender power in the U.S. Senate is not only measured in overall numbers, but also in the power women hold in party and committee leadership. Due to the shift in party power from the 113th to 114th Congress, Democratic women who currently hold 9 committee chairmanships and co-chairmanships will lose their leadership posts. There are fewer Republican women with the seniority needed to win these positions, making it likely that the number of women committee chairs will decline in the 114th Congress. Republican women will also make up a much smaller proportion of the Republican caucus (11.1%) than Democratic women’s proportion of the Democratic caucus (30.4%), presenting another potential hurdle to their influence in agenda-setting and strategy discussions within the majority party.

Five more women senators will be up for re-election in 2016, but it will take a larger class of nominees for open seats or as competitive challengers to see significant change in women’s representation in the upper chamber of Congress in the next election.

When 100 isn’t a passing grade: A closer look at Women in Congress

One of the most circulated “women’s stories” of this week’s election has been the celebration of reaching 100 women in Congress. Because Alma Adams (D-NC) was elected in both her special election and general election contest, she will be sworn in to the 113th Congress next week and cause the number of women in the House to move from 79 to 80, and thus the overall number of women in Congress to reach 100 from 99.

Reaching this marker is no small feat, as those of us who study and work with women in politics know. Just over two decades ago, in the 102nd Congress, only one-third (32) as many women served. Even more, it was not until Shirley Chisholm’s election to the House in 1968 that a Black woman served in Congress. Alma Adams becomes the 32nd Black women to serve in Congress, and was one of four new Black women members elected to the 114th Congress on Tuesday.[1] In fact, women of color will make up over one-third of the House women’s caucus in 2015, as they have in the 113th Congress.

First, those 100 women in Congress serve in a 535-member body (combining House and Senate). Doing the math yields a number far less worthy of celebration: 18.7%. Even with 100 members, women are less than one-fifth of Congress, despite being over 50% of the U.S. population.

Second, we hit 100 women in Congress congress_swearin-4_3on Tuesday from a starting point of 99. Even if all remaining races with women candidates break in their favor, only 105 women will serve in the 114th Congress. That’s a net increase of six in the best case scenario for women, indicating a pace of progress that’s hardly impressive.

Third, even among new members of Congress, women remain seriously underrepresented. According to the latest numbers of new members of the 114th Congress (with some races still undecided), women will be 19% of the freshman class. This isn’t terribly surprising when women make up a similarly low proportion of nominees going into Election Day.

I don’t point out these statistics to discount the success of the women who put themselves forward for congressional offices this year. They are on the front lines of progress, doing what’s needed to disrupt the relatively stagnant trends I note here. For example, our two new women senators are the first women elected to the U.S. Senate from their states. Among the new women in the House, Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) and Mia Love (R-UT) are the first Black women from their states to serve in Congress. They are joined by female trailblazers at other levels of office this year, from Gina Raimondo’s election as the first woman governor of Rhode Island to the addition of 10 new Republican women in statewide elected executive offices nationwide. Rhode Island’s newly-elected Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea is the first Latina elected statewide in all of the northeast, Evelyn Sanguinetti (Illinois) was elected as the nation’s first Latina Lieutenant Governor, and Maura Healey will become the first openly LGBT person to serve as a state’s Attorney General next year.

We should not overlook or reduce the accomplishments of these women, but I raise the concerns above to ensure that the narrative of women’s success is not so overstated by one statistic that it yields complacency. We can all take a minute to celebrate this marker of women’s progress, and more importantly the women who’ve marked it, but let’s also note where 100 falls short and what we can do to move well beyond it in elections to come.

For more information on how women candidates fared at all levels of office on Tuesday, see CAWP’s post-election press release.


[1] Other new Black women members include: Brenda Lawrence (MI-14), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), Mia Love (UT-4). Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) was also elected as a non-voting delegate.

#WomenVote2014: Tracking the Gender Gap and the Women’s Vote in 2014

Much attention has been paid to women voters throughout the 2014 cycle, whether by candidates or commentators. Most recently, some political observers have questioned whether or not the gender-specific political messages or themes evident in this cycle have resonated with women and, if so, with which women. Others have asked whether or not targeting women voters is effective at all, raising questions about why women are so important to electoral outcomes.

In this outlook, we prepare for Election Day by highlighting the historic facts about women voters and the gender gap, while clarifying the distinction between the women’s vote and the gender gap. In this election cycle media reports have frequently confused the two, actually reporting on the women’s vote but calling it the gender gap.We also present both measures (the women’s vote and the gender gap) from the most recent polls in competitive contests for governor and the U.S. Senate, demonstrating that historic trends persist in 2014; across nearly all contests, women are more likely than men to support the Democratic candidates.

The Women’s Vote vs. The Gender Gap

Media coverage this election season has featured some confusing mislabeling of the gender gap and women’s voting patterns. To clarify:

The Gender Gap in voting is the difference between the proportions of women and men who support a given candidate, generally the leading or winning candidate. It is the gap between the genders, not within a gender.

[% Women for Leading or Winning Candidate] – [% Men for Leading or Winning Candidate] = Gender Gap

The Women’s Vote describes the division in women’s support for major party candidates in any given race. It is the percentage-point advantage that one candidate has over the other among women voters – that is, the difference in women’s support for the Democratic and Republican candidates.

[% Women for Leading Party’s Candidate] – [% Women for Trailing Party’s Candidate] = Women’s Vote

This distinction is important because even when women and men favor the same candidate, they usually do so by different margins, resulting in a gender gap.  For example, we frequently see a gender gaps even in races where the women’s vote breaks for the Republican – i.e., where more women voters prefer the Republican candidate than the Democratic candidate.

The FACTS on Why Women’s Votes Matter

  • Women vote in higher numbers than men and have done so in every election since 1964. In 2012, 9.8 million more women than men voted. Women have voted at higher rates than men since 1980. In 2012, 63.7% of eligible female adults went to the polls, compared to 59.8% of eligible male adults. Even in midterm elections, when voter turnout is lower among men and women, women vote in higher numbers and at higher rates than men.
  • More women than men register to vote. Some 81.7 million women were registered to vote in 2012, compared to 71.4 million men.
  • There has been a gender gap in every presidential election since 1980. In the 2012 election, women were 10 percentage points more likely than men to vote for Barack Obama (55% of women vs. 45% of men), according to the exit poll conducted by Edison Research. Gender gaps were also evident in major races for governor and the U.S. Senate in 2012, with women’s votes critical to Democratic candidates’ success.
  • There also has been a gender gap in congressional voting in every recent midterm election. In 2010 there was a 6-point gender gap, with 51% of women compared with 57% of men voting for the Republican candidate in their district.  In 2006, there was a 4-point gender gap, with 56% of women and 52% of men voting for the Democratic candidate in their district. 

Gender, Voting, and the 2014 Election

The tables below report the gender gaps and women’s vote evident in polls in the 11 most competitive U.S. Senate contests and 18 most competitive gubernatorial contests in 2014.  In most (but not all) races the women’s vote favors the Democratic candidate.  Gender gaps are evident in all races, although some are within the margin of error for the poll.

The results reported here are from the latest polls available via Real Clear Politics where gender breakdowns were made publicly available. Two polls are reported in Georgia’s Senate and gubernatorial races because the gender results – both from the same time period – differed significantly.

Competitive Senate Contests

State Candidate Overall Gender Gap Women’s Vote Women  Men Date/Source
AK Mark Begich (D)
Dan Sullivan (R)
44%
48%
20 pts. +17% Begich 54%
37%
34%
57%
NYTimes/CBS News/YouGov (Oct. 16-23)
AR Mary Pryor (D)
Tom Cotton (R)
41%
49%
15 pts. +4% Pryor 46%
42%
35%
57%
Public Policy Polling Oct. 30 -Nov. 1) 
CO Mark Udall (D)
Cory Gardner (R)
44%
46%
11 pts. +6% Udall 47%
41%
40%
52%
Denver Post/SurveyUSA (Oct. 27-29)
GA Michelle Nunn (D)
David Perdue (R)
46.6%
47.4%
14 pts. +12% Nunn 53%
41%
39%
55%
WSB/Landmark (Oct. 29)
Michelle Nunn (D)
David Perdue (R)
44%
48%
2 pts. +2% Perdue 45%
47%
43%
49%
NBC/Marist Poll (Oct. 27-30)
IA Bruce Braley (D)
Joni Ernst (R)
41%
51%
14 pts. +7% Braley 51%
44%
36%
58%
Des Moines Register (Oct. 28-31) 
KS Greg Orman (I)
Pat Roberts (R)
44%
43%
4 pts.  +7% Orman 46%
39%
42%
47%
Fox News (Oct. 28-30)
KY Alison Lundergan Grimes (D)
Mitch McConnell (R)
41%
50%
3 pts.  +7% McConnell 42%
49%
41%
52%
NBC/Marist Poll (Oct. 27-30)
LA Mary Landrieu (D)
Bill Cassidy (R)
45%
50%
15 pts. +7% Landrieu 50%
43%
39%
58%
NBC/Marist Poll (Oct. 27-30)
NC Kay Hagan (D)
Thom Tillis (R)
43%
42%
8 pts. +8% Hagan 47%
39%
39%
46%
Fox News (Oct. 28-30)
NH Jeanne Shaheen (D)
Scott Brown (R)
49%
49%
11 pts. +11% Shaheen 54%
43%
43%
54%
American Research Group (Oct. 27-29)
VA Mark Warner (D)
Ed Gillespie (R)
51%
44%
3 pts.  +10% Warner 53%
43%
50%
45%
Christopher Newport University (Oct. 23-29) 

The gender gap in competitive Senate races, based on the most recent polls, ranges from 2 to 20 points. In all but two contests, the women’s vote favors the Democratic candidate by anywhere between 4 and 17 percentage points. In Kentucky, the latest NBC/Marist Poll shows Republican Mitch McConnell leading Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes among both men and women voters (+7 percentage points among women), but a gender gap of 3 points is evident, with men more likely than women to support McConnell. In Georgia, the latest NBC/Marist Poll shows Republican David Perdue leading Democrat Michelle Nunn among both men and women voters (+2 percentage points among women voters), with women voters 2 percentage points less likely to support Perdue than men (2-point gender gap).  However, there is a 14- point gender gap in the WSB/Landmark Poll from Georgia over the same time period, and the women’s vote advantages Nunn by 12 percentage points.

Competitive Gubernatorial Contests

State

Candidate

Overall

Gender Gap

Women’s Vote

Women

Men

Date/Source

AK Sean Parnell (R)
Bill Walker (I)

38%
34%

8 pts.

Equal split

33%
33%

41%
34%

NYTimes/CBS News/YouGov (Oct. 16-23)
AR Mike Ross (D)
Asa Hutchinson (R)

41%
51%

10 pts.

+1% Hutchinson

45%
46%

36%
56%

Public Policy Polling Oct. 30 -Nov. 1)
AZ Fred DuVal (D)
Doug Ducey (R)

40%
50%

14 pts.

+2% DuVal

45%
43%

35%
57%

NYTimes/CBS News/YouGov (Oct. 16-23)
CO John Hickenlooper (D)
Bob Beauprez (R)

46%
46%

5 pts./ 9 pts.

+7% Hickenlooper

48%
41%

43%
50%

Denver Post/SurveyUSA (Oct. 27-29)
CT Dannel Malloy (D)
Tom Foley (R)

44%
41%

10 pts.

+13% Malloy

49%
36%

39%
47%

Public Policy Polling Oct. 30 -Nov. 1)
FL Charlie Crist (D)
Rick Scott (R)

41%
41%

6 pts./ 7pts.

+6% Crist

44%
38%

38%
45%

YouGov (Oct. 25-31)
GA Jason Carter (D)
Nathan Deal (R)

46%
48%

14 pts.

+11% Carter

52%
41%

39%
55%

WSB/Landmark (Oct. 29)
  Jason Carter (D)
Nathan Deal (R)

43%
48%

4 pts.

Equal split

46%
46%

40%
50%

NBC/Marist Poll (Oct. 27-30)
IL Pat Quinn (D)
Bruce Rauner (R)

45%
41%

6 pts.

+16% Quinn

48%
32%

42%
51%

NYTimes/CBS News/YouGov (Oct. 16-23)
KS Paul Davis (D)
Sam Brownback (R)

48%
42%

8 pts.

+15% Davis

52%
37%

44%
46%

Fox News (Oct. 28-30)
MA Martha Coakley (D)
Charlie Baker (R)

42%
46%

9 pts.

+4% Coakley

45%
41%

37%
50%

Public Policy Polling Oct. 30 -Nov. 1)
MD Anthony Brown (D)
Larry Hogan (R)

51%
38%

15 pts.

+18% Brown

58%
30%

43%
48%

NYTimes/CBS News/YouGov (Oct. 16-23)
ME Mike Michaud (D)
Paul LePage (R)
Eliot Cutler (I)

37%
35%
7%

11 pts.

+9% Michaud

42%
33%
6%

31%
38%
7%

NYTimes/CBS News/YouGov (Oct. 16-23)
MI Mark Schauer (D)
Rick Snyder (R)

43%
48%

9 pts.

+4% Schauer

48%
44%

39%
53%

Mitchell Research (Oct. 27)
MN Mark Dayton (D)
Jeff Johnson (R)

45%
38%

13 pts.

+19% Dayton

51%
32%

38%
45%

Star Tribune Minnesota Poll (Oct. 20-22)
NH Maggie Hassan (D)
Walt Havenstein (R)

48%
36%

7 pts.

+10% Hassan

52%
42%

45%
50%

American Research Group (Oct. 27-29)
OR John Kitzhaber (D)
Dennis Richardson (R)

50%
40%

11 pts.

+19% Kitzhaber

55%
36%

44%
45%

Survey USA (Oct. 23-27)
RI Gina Raimondo (D)
Allan Fung (R)

38%
37%

2 pts.

+2% Raimondo

39%
37%

37%
38%

Brown University (Oct. 25-26)
WI Mary Burke (D)
Scott Walker (R)

43%
45%

7 pts.

+4% Burke

45%
41%

41%
48%

YouGov (Oct. 25-31)

The gender gap in competitive gubernatorial races, based on the most recent polls, ranges from 2 to 15 points. In all but two contests, the women’s vote favors the Democratic candidate by anywhere between 2 and 19 percentage points. Even in Arkansas and Alaska, where the women’s vote is equally split or slightly favors the Republican candidate, women are still more likely than men to support the Democratic candidate. Results vary significantly in the two most recent Georgia polls, although women voters are more likely than men to support Democrat Jason Carter in both.

CAWP will monitor the women’s vote and the gender gap on Election Day, using exit polls to identify and analyze gender differences in turnout and vote choice. Follow CAWP on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates and releases on women voters in this year’s races.

#WomenRun2014: Statewide Elected Executive Office Outlook

Today we focus on the outlook for women seeking statewide elected executive offices other than governor.

Candidates and Nominees

Lieutenant Governor

Forty-two (21D, 21R) women filed to run for lieutenant governor in 24 states in 2014.[i] The record number of women filing for lieutenant governor is 46 (25D, 19R, 1ACP, 1Ind),[ii] set in 1994. This year, 24 (15D, 9R) women won their primaries, including five (1D, 4R) incumbents running for re-election. Thirteen (10D, 3R) women are running as challengers and 6 (4D, 2R) women are running for open seats. The record for women nominees for lieutenant governor is 29 (14D, 13R, 1ACP, 1Ind), also set in 1994.

LGCandsandNominees LGNomineesbyPartyThree states – Connecticut, Iowa, and Ohio – have woman-versus-woman general election contests for lieutenant governor this year.

Six (5D, 1R) women of color are among the 24 female candidates for lieutenant governor in 2014. Four Latinas (3D, 1R) are nominees for lieutenant governor: Annette Tadeo (D-FL); Evelyn Sanguinetti (R-IL); Lucy Flores (D-NV); and Leticia Van de Putte (D-TX).  One Black woman, Connie Stokes, is the Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in Georgia. New Mexico’s Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor, Debra Haaland, is Native American. Three (2D, 1R) other women of color ran for lieutenant governor this cycle but lost their primaries.

Additional Statewide Elected Executive Offices

101 (55D, 46R) women filed to run for statewide elected executive offices other than governor and lieutenant governor in 2014. Seventy-one (46D, 25R) women won their primaries, including 17 (8D, 9R) incumbents running for re-election. Twenty-one (19D, 2R) women are running as challengers and 33 (19D, 14R) women are running for open seats. Twenty (14D, 6R) women are running for secretary of state, 12 (8D, 4R) for attorney general, 11 (6D, 5R) for state auditor, 10 (9D, 1R) for state treasurer, and 7 (2D, 5R) for their states’ top education posts.

SEEONomineesbyOfficeThere are nine woman-versus-woman general election contests for statewide elective executive offices this year, including four contests for secretary of state (IN, NM, NV, and SD), two contests for state auditor (AR and MA), two contests for state comptroller/controller (IL and CA), and Idaho’s race for superintendent of public instruction.

Based on preliminary counts, at least 24 of the 101 women who filed for statewide elected executive posts are women of color, including at least 14 women of color who won nominations . Ten (10D) Black women, two (1D, 1R) Latinas, one (1D) Asian American woman, and one (1D) multi-racial woman are nominees.[iii]

Women in Statewide Elected Executive Office 2015

Lieutenant Governors

Eleven (5D, 6R) women currently serve as lieutenant governors. Three (3D) incumbents are not running again in 2014; Sheila Simon (D-IL) and Yvonne Solon (DFL-MN) chose not to seek re-election and Elizabeth Roberts (D-RI) is term-limited. Two (2R) incumbent women lieutenant governors are not up for re-election this year: Sue Ellspermann (R-IN) and Kim Guadagno (R-NJ).

Cook Political Report ratings are available for races including 19 of the 24 female lieutenant governor nominees this year because they are elected on tickets with the gubernatorial nominees. Among those 19 contenders, three (1D, 2R) are in races deemed solid or likely to favor candidates of their party and six (6D) are in races deemed solid or likely to favor candidates of the opposing party. Eight female nominees (3D, 5R) are in races deemed toss-ups by Cook, and the remaining two (2D) lieutenant governor nominees are in races leaning in their favor (1D) or against them (1D).

LGRatingsFive (3D, 2R) of the women nominees for lieutenant governor are running in states where the governor and lieutenant governor are elected separately. In those races, predictions of electoral success are harder to make. These races include three (3D) of the six women of color nominees for lieutenant governor this year: Connie Stokes (D-GA), Lucy Flores (D-NV), and Leticia Van de Putte (D-TX). Annette Tadeo (D-FL) and Evelyn Sanguinetti (R-IL), both sharing tickets with their gubernatorial nominees, are in races deemed as toss-ups by Cook, and Debra Haaland (D-NM) faces an uphill climb with Gary King as Democratic challengers to the Republican incumbents.

Since 1998, the largest number of women to serve simultaneously as lieutenant governors has been 19. The maximum number of female winners this year would be 24 if women won all toss-up and long-shot races. Due to the competitiveness of these races, it remains unclear whether we will exceed even the number of women lieutenant governors currently serving (11), let alone the most recent high (19).

LGs20042014Additional Statewide Elected Executive Offices

Fifty-six (29D, 27R) women currently serve in statewide elected executive offices other than governor or lieutenant governor. Twenty-one of those women are not up for re-election this year and will remain in office in 2015. Seventeen of those incumbents are nominees again this year. Since 1998, the greatest number of female statewide elected executive officials (not including governors and lieutenant governors) serving simultaneously was 70 in 2000. Because polling is not readily available in the 62 races with women candidates, we make no predictions of electoral outcomes in these races.

SEEO20042014What to Watch on Election Day

In addition to tracking the numbers of women winning statewide elected executive offices on Election Day, we will be watching these situations where women have the potential to make history:

  • Latinas are running for lieutenant governor this year in FL, IL, NV, and TX. Since no Latina has ever served as lieutenant governor in any state, a win by any of the four would make history.  To date, only 9 Latinas have ever held statewide elected executive offices.
  • Five Black women, all Democrats, are running for statewide elected executive offices in Georgia, each with the potential to make history as the first Black woman to hold a statewide elected executive post in that state.[iv] To date, only 10 Black women have ever held statewide elected executive offices in any state.
  • If elected in New Mexico, lieutenant governor candidate Debra Haaland (D) would be the first Native American woman elected lieutenant governor and the second Native American woman elected to a statewide elected executive office nationwide.
  • If elected in Massachusetts, Maura Healey (D) would be the first openly LGBT attorney general in the nation.
  • These statewide elected executive office candidates would be the first women in their states to hold the positions they are seeking:
    • Liz Johnson (D), GA insurance commissioner
    • Robbin Shipp (D), GA labor commissioner
    • Valerie Wilson (D), GA state school superintendent
    • Janet Stewart (D), NE attorney general
    • Holli High Woodings (D), ID secretary of state
    • Ginny Deerin (D), SC secretary of state


[i] Seven states, including six with gubernatorial elections this year, do not have lieutenant governors.

[ii] ACP is A Connecticut Party, a third party in that state that is included here because there was a governor from that party at the time.

[iii] Kamala Harris (D-CA) identifies as Black and Asian Pacific Islander. CAWP attempts to verify all candidates’ race or ethnicity, but is limited by whether or not candidates return our request for identification and whether or not public information about the candidate’s identity is available.

[iv] Doreen Carter (secretary of state), Liz Johnson (insurance commissioner), Robbin Shipp (labor commissioner), Connie Stokes (lieutenant governor), Valerie Wilson (state school superintendent)

 

#WomenRun2014: State Legislatures Outlook

Today we focus on the outlook for women running in state legislative races. The detail and predictive value of our data are limited at this level due to the high number of candidates and races, but we do know that we enter Election Day without a record-level number of female state legislative candidates.

State Legislative Nominees

In 2014, 2,517 (1,621D, 888R, 7NP, 1I) women are state legislative nominees in the 46 states holding state legislative elections.[1] Two hundred and sixty-nine (163D, 99R, 7NP) additional women are holdovers who will continue to serve in 2015. The record number of women nominees for state legislative seats is 2,537 (1,616D, 908R, 6NP, 7Prg), set in 2010 – another year in which 46 states held state legislative elections.[2] While slightly fewer women are nominees this year, one explanation may be that fewer seats are at stake. Eighty seven state legislative chambers hold elections on Tuesday, compared with 88 chambers for which elections in the fall of 2010. Minnesota’s state senate holds elections only in years ending in 0, 2, and 6. As a result, there are 38 fewer female state legislative nominees in Minnesota in 2014 (75) than in 2010 (113).  In other states, state senate elections reflect staggered terms that may influence the competitiveness of seats available (and thus number of candidates) across different cycles.

StLegNomineesWinnersThis year, 453 (291D, 154R, 7NP, 1I) women are nominees for state senate seats and 2,064 (1,329D, 735R) are nominees for state house seats.

Of the 2,517 women nominees running this year, 1,243, or 49.4%, are incumbents. Seven hundred and fourteen women, or 28.4%, are running as challengers, and 558 women, or 22.2%, are running in open seat contests. Similarly, 51.2% of all female House nominees are running as incumbents. Among female state senate nominees, 41.1% are incumbents, 32.5% are running as challengers, and 26% are running in open seat contests.

The number of Democratic women state legislative nominees in 2014 (1,621) is the greatest in the past decade, though just five more women are Democratic nominees this year than were on the ballot in 2010 (1,616). Twenty more Republican women were state legislative nominees in 2010 (908) than will be on the ballot this year (888). Despite these slight differences, the overall trend between and across parties is static, as shown by the relatively flat lines in the graphs above and below.

StLegNomineesbyParty

A complete list of nominees by state and party is available on CAWP’s Election Watch 2014.

Women in State Legislatures 2015

Today, 1,789 (1,137D, 637R, 10NP, 1I, 4Prg) women serve in state legislatures, including 411 (258D, 142R, 10NP) female state senators and 1,378 (879D, 495R, 4Prg) female members of state houses. They represent 24.2% of all 7383 state legislators nationwide. The percentage of women state legislators has remained nearly flat over the past two decades, as is evident in the graph below. As the chart above shows, women’s state legislative representation increases as the number of women nominees rises. Without a significant jump in the number of women nominees this year, it is unlikely that we will see a significant departure from the pattern of stagnation in the number of women officeholders at the state legislative level in 2015.

PercentWomenStLegCurrently, 375 (347D, 27R, 1NP) women state legislators, or 21% of all women legislators, are women of color. Because we are unable to track state legislative candidate race prior to Election Day, we do not know the racial identification and breakdown of women nominees this year.

CAWP will be tracking the numbers of women winning state legislative seats as results come in and are finalized to determine how women fare nationally, by chamber, by state, and by party. We will monitor trends in women’s representation as well as watch for shifts in the balance of partisan power in state legislative chambers, especially where women hold top leadership positions.

For the latest numbers and information about women running for office in 2014, visit CAWP’s Election Watch 2014 and check out our next post, reporting on women running for statewide elected executive offices in the 2014 elections. You can also follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #WomenRun2014.


[1] No state legislative elections will be held this year in LA, MS, NJ, and VA.

[2] Because AL and MD hold state legislative elections every four years and LA, MS, NJ, and VA hold state legislative elections in odd-numbered years, only 44 states held legislative elections in 2012.

#WomenRun2014: Governors Outlook

Today we are focusing on the outlook for women running for governor. Despite 2014 being a “year of the governor” with 36 races across the nation,[1] we will not surpass any records for women running and winning states’ top executive posts this year.

Candidates and Nominees

Thirty (16D, 14R) women filed to run for governor in 20 states in 2014. No women filed for candidacy in 16 of the states with gubernatorial races. The record number of women filing for governor is 34, set in 1994 (18D, 15R, 1ACP).[2] This year, 9 (6D, 3R) women won their primaries, including the four (1D, 3R) incumbents running for re-election. The record for women gubernatorial nominees is 10, set in 1994 (6D, 3R, 1ACP) and reached again in 1998 (6D, 4R), 2002 (9D, 1R), 2006 (5D, 5R) and 2010 (5D, 5R). There are no woman-versus-woman gubernatorial contests this year.

GovNomineesWinnersGovNomineesbyPartyIn addition to these women candidates and nominees, Delegate Donna Christensen (D-Virgin Islands) was successful in her primary bid to become governor of the Virgin Islands. Christensen is the only non-incumbent woman of color to make it to a general election ballot for governor this year. Two more female gubernatorial nominees in 2014 are women of color, incumbents Susana Martinez (R-NM) and Nikki Haley (R-SC). Both women were elected in 2010 as the first women of color to ever serve as governors in the United States.[3] Six more women of color filed in gubernatorial races this cycle, but did not make it to the general election, including two women in Florida and two women in Texas.[4]

GovOpenSeatNominees

All five of the non-incumbent female nominees for governor this year are Democrats. Three women candidates – Martha Coakley (MA), Gina Raimondo (RI), and Wendy Davis (TX) — are running for open seats. Two women candidates – Susan Wismer (SD) and Mary Burke (WI) — are running as challengers.

Women have fallen short of making history as candidates, nominees, or open seat nominees in both major political parties this year. When compared to the most recent cycles with similar numbers of gubernatorial seats up for election, more women filed as candidates for governor this year, but fewer women made it through their primaries.

 GovComparable

Women Governors in 2015

Five (1D, 4R) women currently serve as governors. With Governor Jan Brewer leaving office in Arizona due to term limits, four (1D, 3R) incumbent women governors are running for re-election next week: Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Susana Martinez (R-NM), Mary Fallin (R-OK), and Nikki Haley (R-SC). All incumbent women are leading in their campaigns for re-election. Based on the most recent ratings, two non-incumbent nominees face uphill climbs to victory this year: Susan Wismer (D-SD) and Wendy Davis (D-TX). The Cook Political Report rates Rhode Island’s gubernatorial contest as “Lean Democrat,” giving Gina Raimondo (D) a slight edge in that contest. The remaining non-incumbent women, Martha Coakley (D-MA) and Mary Burke (D-WI), are contenders are in two of the most competitive gubernatorial races of this cycle, both rated as toss-ups by Cook.

GovRatings

In 2002, a record 4 (3D, 1R) new women were elected as governors. We are unlikely to exceed that number of new women winning this year. Moreover, based on these estimates, we may end up with the same number of women governors as in 2014 (5), changing only the partisan balance among women governors. The record number of women serving as governor simultaneously is nine, achieved in 2004 and 2007.

What to Watch on Election Day

In addition to tracking the numbers of women winning gubernatorial offices on Election Day and closely monitoring the most competitive races with women running (see table above), we will be watching these races where women have the potential to make history:

  • Rhode Island: Democrat Gina Raimondo, if elected, will be the first woman governor of Rhode Island and the first woman to hold two different statewide elected executive offices in that state. Raimondo currently serves as the state treasurer.
  • Massachusetts: Democrat Martha Coakley, if elected, will be the second woman governor of Massachusetts. However, she would be the first woman elected governor of the state. Former Lt. Governor Jane Swift (R) served as acting governor in 2001 after then-Governor Paul Cellucci’s resignation.
  • Virgin Islands: Democrat Donna Christensen, if elected, will be the first Black woman governor in the United States or territories. Christensen currently serves as one of two Black female delegates to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Wisconsin: Democrat Mary Burke, if elected, will be the first woman governor of Wisconsin.

To date, 35 women (20D, 15R) have served as governors in 26 states. In addition, one woman has served as governor in Puerto Rico. Based on current ratings, two more states (RI and WI) and one territory (VI) have the potential to break this gubernatorial glass ceiling in 2014. However, to put these numbers in context, the number of men who will serve as governors in 2015 is greater than the number of women who have ever held gubernatorial office.

For the latest numbers and information about women running for office in 2014, visit CAWP’s Election Watch 2014 and check out our next post, reporting on the scary statistics on women in the 2014 elections. You can also follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #WomenRun2014.



[1] Of the 36 gubernatorial contests in 2014, only 8 are for open seats (AZ, AR, HI, MD, MA, NE, RI, and TX).

[2] Women who are third party candidates are included if their parties have recently won statewide offices. ACP refers to “A Connecticut Party.”

[3] Sila Calerón was elected governor of Puerto Rico in 2000 and served until 2005.

[4] In addition to Yinka Adeshina (R-FL), Elizabeth Cuevas-Neunder (R-FL), Lisa Fritsch (R-TX), and Miriam Martinez (R-TX), Lynette “Doc” Bryant (D) filed as a candidate for governor of Arkansas and Linda Lopez (D) filed as a candidate for governor of New Mexico.

#WomenRun2014: Senate Outlook

Today we are focusing on the outlook for women running in U.S. Senate races this year. Neither Senate nor House races feature record numbers of women candidates or nominees this cycle, but we may see a net increase in the number of women serving in the U.S. Senate in January 2015. Much depends on how some of the most competitive Senate races of this cycle break next Tuesday.

Candidates and Nominees

SenateCandidates Thirty-one (15D, 16R) women filed to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014. The record number of  women filing for the Senate is 36, set in 2010 (19D, 17R) and reached again in 2012 (20D, 16R). This year, 14 (9D, 5R) women have won their primaries, and incumbent Senator Mary Landrieu (D) will be on the November 4th ballot in Louisiana’s same-day primary. The record for women Senate nominees was set in 2012, with 18 women (12D, 6R) making it through their party primaries. There are two woman–versus-woman Senate races this year: in Maine (Susan Collins [R] v. Shenna Bellows [D]) and West Virginia (Shelley Moore Capito [R] v. Natalie Tennant [D]).

SenateNomineesWinnersIt’s important to look at the types of contests in which women are running to determine their likelihood of winning. In 2014, 7 (4D, 3R) women are nominees for open U.S. Senate seats, compared to the 8 (4D, 4R) women running for open seats in 2012. As the charts below show, women have fallen short of making history as candidates, nominees, or open seat nominees in either major political party this year. This is the first election since 1992 in which more Republican women than Democratic women filed for U.S. Senate seats, but more Democratic women made it through their primaries to become Senate nominees.

SenateOpenSeatNomineesSenateCandidatesbyParty SenateNomineesbyPartyWomen in the 114th Congress

Twenty (16D, 4R) women currently serve in the U.S. Senate. There are no incumbent women senators stepping down this year, and four (3D, 1R) incumbent women are up for re-election. Sixteen (13D, 3R) incumbent women senators are holdovers who will  remain in office through the 114th Congress. Based on the most recent ratings, two more women are very likely to win their Senate races next Tuesday: incumbent Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representative Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), who is running for an open seat against another female candidate, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant (D-WV). Six (5D, 1R) more women candidates for the U.S. Senate are in contests rated as toss-ups by the Cook Political Report, including incumbents Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Kay Hagen (D-NC), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). Two women, Michelle Nunn (D-GA) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), are running competitively for open seats, and Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) is challenging incumbent Mitch McConnell in Kentucky’s contentious Senate contest. Thus women are major party nominees in many of the races that will determine the partisan balance of power in the U.S. Senate, including six of the ten toss-up contests identified by Cook.

SenateRatingsOnly two women of color, Connie Johnson (D-OK) and Joyce Dickerson (D-SC), are major party Senate nominees this year, and both are unlikely to win their races, leaving Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) as the only woman of color in the U.S. Senate in the 114th Congress.

In 2012, a record 5 (4D, 1R) new women were elected to the U.S. Senate. We are unlikely to exceed that number of new women winning this year.

What to Watch on Election Day

In addition to tracking the numbers of women winning U.S. Senate seats on Election Day and closely monitoring the most competitive races with women running (see table above), we will be watching these races where women have the potential to make history:

  • Georgia: Democrat Michelle Nunn, if elected, will be the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Georgia. Rebecca Latimer Felton was appointed to the U.S. Senate from Georgia in 1922, but only served for one day. Nunn, daughter of former Georgia Senator Sam Nunn (D), would also become the second daughter of a former U.S. Senator to serve in the upper chamber of Congress. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was appointed to the Senate by her father, Frank Murkowski, in 2002 to fill his vacant seat. She has since been re-elected twice to her Senate seat.
  • Iowa: Republican Joni Ernst, if elected, will be the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate from Iowa. Iowa is one of four states (DE, IA, MS, VT) that has never sent a woman to Congress. Ernst would also be the first female military veteran to serve in the U.S. Senate.
  • Kentucky: Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes, if elected, will be the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky, as well as the first Democratic woman elected to the U.S. Congress from that state. Grimes would also become the youngest woman to ever serve in the U.S. Senate, elected at 35 and turning 36 before January 2015. Former Senator Blanche Lambert Lincoln (D-AR), the youngest woman to serve in the U.S. Senate to date, was elected and sworn in at age 38.
  • West Virginia: Republican Shelley Moore Capito is leading Democrat Natalie Tennant in a race to become the first woman Senator from West Virginia. If elected, Capito – currently a member of the U.S. House – will be the 11th woman ever to serve in both the U.S. House and Senate.

On a less positive note, no more than one incumbent woman Senator has ever lost her re-election in any previous election year. However, three female incumbents are in races considered toss-ups this year.

For the latest numbers and information about women running for office in 2014, visit CAWP’s Election Watch 2014 and check out our next post on women running for governor this year. You can also follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #WomenRun2014.

#WomenRun2014: House Outlook

We’re launching our week-long countdown to the midterm elections with the outlook for women running for the U.S. House of Representatives. While we have not seen record numbers of women candidates or nominees this cycle, we may see a record number of women serving in the U.S. House come January 2015.

Candidates and Nominees

HouseCands3Two hundred and forty-nine (154D, 95R) women filed to run for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014. The record for women House candidates was set in 2012, with 298 (190D, 108R) women filing to run for seats in the lower chamber of Congress. This year, 158 (108D, 50R) women have won their primaries and 2 (1D, 1R) more women will be on the November 4th ballot in Louisiana’s same-day primary. The record for women House nominees was set in 2012, with 166 (118D, 48R) women making it through their party primaries.[1]

HouseNomsWinners2It’s important to look at the types of contests in which women are running to determine their likelihood of winning. In 2014, 18 (11D, 7R) women are nominees for open U.S. House seats, compared to the record high of 39 (26D, 13R) women running for open seats in 1992. As the charts below show, women have fallen short of making history as candidates, nominees, or open seat nominees in either major political party this year. However, while the number of female nominees dropped between 2012 and 2014 for Democratic women House candidates, there was a slight increase, from 48 to 50 nominees, among Republican women candidates, with the Louisiana race still pending.

HouseOpenSeatNoms2 HouseCandsParty

HouseNomsPartyWomen in the 114th Congress

It is likely that we will see an increase in the total number of women serving in the U.S. House in the 114th Congress from our current class of 79 (60D, 19R) women members and 2 (2D) female delegates, but the size of that increase depends on how the most contentious races of this cycle break for women candidates. While we know that we will lose six (4D, 2R) current women members and one (1D) female delegate to retirements and bids for other offices, there are six (5D, 1R) women candidates and one (1D) female delegate very likely to become new members of the 114th Congress, based on the most recent ratings from Cook Political Report. Another 4 (1D, 3R) new women are rated as likely or leaning to win House seats this year. Finally, 4 (3D, 1R) possible new women members and 3 (3D) female incumbents are competing in contests rated as toss-ups by the Cook Political Report as of last week.

NewHouseWomen2

Five of the eight new women most likely to win House seats, as well as delegate candidate Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), are women of color. If these new women win and all Black female incumbents are re-elected, a record 18 (17D, 1R) Black women members and 2 (2D) non-voting Black women delegates will serve in the 114th Congress.

VulnHouseWomen2In 2012, 19 (16D, 3R) new women were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. We are very unlikely to meet or exceed that number of new women winning this year.

NewHouseWomen3What to Watch on Election Day

In addition to tracking the numbers of women winning U.S. House seats on Election Day and closely monitoring the most competitive races with women running (see table above), we will be watching these races where women have the potential to make history:

  • AZ-2: Republican Martha McSally, if elected, will be the first Republican woman ever elected to Congress from Arizona.
  • IA-3: Democrat Staci Appel, if elected, will be the first woman ever elected to the U.S. House from Iowa. Iowa is one of four states (DE, IA, MS, VT) that has never sent a woman to Congress.
  • NJ-12: Democrat Bonnie Watson Coleman, if elected, will be the first Black woman elected to Congress from New Jersey. She will also be the first woman in New Jersey’s congressional delegation since 2003.
  • NY-21: Republican Elise Stefanik, if elected, will be the youngest woman ever sworn in to Congress at age 30. The youngest women to be sworn in to date were 31 years old.
  • UT-4: Republican Mia Love, if elected, will be the first Black Republican woman to be elected to Congress. She will also be the first Black woman, and only the fourth woman, to ever serve in Utah’s congressional delegation.
  • VA-10: Republican Barbara Comstock, if elected, will be the first woman in Virginia’s congressional delegation since 2009.

Finally, while four states with no women currently serving in the U.S. House (Iowa, New Jersey, Utah, Virginia) have the potential to add women members to their 114th congressional delegations, Pennsylvania is very likely to have no women in its congressional delegation as of January 2015.

For the latest numbers and information about women running for office in 2014, visit CAWP’s Election Watch 2014 and check out tomorrow’s post on women running for the U.S. Senate this year. You can also follow the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by using the hashtag #WomenRun2014.


[1] Three (2D, 1R) women won primaries but then dropped out in 2012, leaving 163 nominees running on Election Day.