Footnotes

Footnotes

Will women hold the “high seats” in Obama’s second term?

This morning, Secretary of State Clinton introduced and endorsed Senator John Kerry as the next Secretary of State in front of the Senate panel who will vote on his confirmation. If confirmed (as expected), Kerry will be the first white male to hold the post in 16 years. While few have questioned Kerry’s credentials for the job, there has been concern about whether Kerry’s appointment – along with those of Chuck Hagel (Defense) and Jack Lew (Treasury), and paired with resignations of three cabinet-level women  (including two women of color) and three cabinet-level men of color-- represents a trend toward a less diverse cabinet in President Obama’s second term. It is still too soon to say that Obama’s second term cabinet will be less racially and gender diverse than his first. By my count, Obama has seven cabinet-level appointments left to make, based on vacancies and resignations: Secretary of Commerce, Secretary of Energy, Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of Labor, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, United States Trade Representative, and Chief of Staff. Of the 16 other cabinet or cabinet-level posts, four women will keep their positions: Secretaries Sebelius (HHS) and Napolitano (Homeland Security), Ambassador Rice (UN), and Administrator Mills (SBA) are expected to stay on for the start of Obama’s second term.

Obama Cabinet_First Term Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy (July 26, 2012)

 

While the President may still have opportunities to increase the diversity of his team, the rumored short lists and limited openings for these offices make it unlikely that Obama’s second term cabinet will top the eight women (35%) serving simultaneously during his first term. If so, he could buck the positive trend of the two previous presidents, who actually increased the percentage of women in their cabinets during their second terms. However, it is important to note that President Obama did appoint two women, including one Latina, to the Supreme Court, and included three women among the top six members of his White House staff (two Deputy Chiefs of Staff – one of whom is leaving next week - and Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett). In 2010, Dr. Mary Anne Borelli wrote that, by 2009, “The inclusion of women in the cabinet had become the norm.” As more women have been appointed to cabinet and cabinet-level posts, the questions have shifted from whether or not a woman will be selected to how many women will serve, for what posts they will be chosen, and to what extent their voices will be heard in the most significant White House policy discussions. While the State Department has, in the past two decades, become a common home for female leaders, other influential departments – Defense and Treasury - have yet to see women at the helm.  Amidst international conflicts and economic challenges, these cabinet posts are particularly important in guiding United States policy and ensuring national stability and strength. Gender scholarship argues that having diverse voices in those discussions is essential, both to representing unique constituencies and to bringing new perspectives, approaches, and styles to the decision-making process. More specifically, research on female appointees at the state and national levels has shown that women are not only more responsive to women’s policy concerns, but also more likely to bring more women to the decision-making table via their hiring decisions. In yesterday’s congressional hearings on the Benghazi tragedy, many House and Senate members remarked on Secretary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department, and most applauded her staunch dedication to women’s rights and women’s security as a large part of her legacy there. Her accomplishments follow those of other female appointees like Secretary Madeleine Albright, who identified women’s rights as a priority of American foreign policy, Commerce Secretary Juanita Kreps, who encouraged President Carter’s creation of an Interagency Task Force on Women Business Owners, and – of course – Labor Secretary Frances Perkins, who not only broke the glass ceiling for women in presidential cabinets, but also pioneered U.S. policy to protect the most vulnerable workers (especially women and children) and promote their economic security for generations to come through the Social Security Act. Perkins once reflected on her appointment by President Roosevelt in this way:

The door might not be opened to a woman again for a long, long time and I had a kind of duty to other women to walk in and sit down on the chair that was offered, and so establish the right of others long hence and far distant in geography to sit in the high seats.

As we enter President Obama’s second term, we will pay close attention to not only the number of women in the “high seats” within the administration, but also to the power and influence those seats are given in the four years to come. See CAWP's Infographic and Fact Sheet on Women and Presidential Appointments for more details.

From the Bus to the Ballot: African American Women’s Electoral History

Rosa Parks – a civil rights icon and activist – was born a century ago today. At age 42, her refusal to abide by segregationist rules on a Montgomery, Alabama bus became a national symbol of civil rights resistance. However, as biographer Jeanne Theoharis writes, Parks’ “lifelong history of activism and anger at American injustice” began far before and continued long after she refused to give up her seat to a white man. The activism that Parks embodied has been woven through African American women’s history and political participation in the United States, but it was not until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that African American women could translate that activism into holding electoral office. Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman, elected to Congress in 1968, leading the way for the 29 African American women who have since followed her footsteps to the United States Capitol. Among these women, only one has served in the United States Senate (Carol Moseley Braun, 1993-1999). Still, the percentage of African American women among all African American members today – 32% - is larger than the percentage of women (18%) in the U.S. Congress. Today, 13 African American women (all Democrats) serve as U.S. representatives, and two Black women are delegates from the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. Two hundred and forty African American women currently serve in state legislatures, representing about 13.5% of all women state legislators. Representative Crystal Dreda Bird Fauset (D-PA) became the first African American woman elected to a state legislature 75 years ago. In 2008, then-Assemblywoman Karen Bass (D-CA) became the first woman of color, and first African American woman, Speaker of an Assembly or State House in the country. Two years later, she was elected to Congress; that same year, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D-NJ) became the second African American woman chosen to lead a state’s lower chamber. Dr. Wendy Smooth’s research has shown that the growth in African American women’s electoral representation has outpaced that of African American men since the 1990s, but Smooth writes that African American women’s (formal) political empowerment has yielded “mixed results”:

On the one hand, [African American women] are gaining increased access to political offices, now outpacing African American men in winning elections. On the other hand, they continue to face considerable obstacles to securing high-profile offices at both the state and national level.[1]

Only nine African American women have served in statewide elected executive posts – all since 1993 – and no African American woman has ever been elected governor. Two African American women have run in major party primaries for the United States presidency. Shirley Chisholm became the first African American woman to run for president of the United States in 1972, receiving a symbolic, but unsuccessful, 151 delegate votes. It was not until more than three decades later that Carol Moseley Braun threw her hat in the ring, but she dropped out of the race before the first votes were cast. Before her death in 2005, Shirley Chisholm reflected on the many electoral barriers she broke and the legacy she would leave:

I want history to remember me not just as the first black woman to be elected to Congress, not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency of the United States, but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and dared to be herself.

In this African American history month – and every day of the year - we honor the daring women who follow in Chisholm’s footsteps, and we should all encourage more women to do the same. Chisholm_Legacy

 
[1] Smooth, Wendy. 2010. “African American Women and Electoral Politics.” In Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics, eds. Susan J. Carroll and Richard L. Fox. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 165-186.

Spotlight: Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee Celebrates 25 Years

The Center for American Women and Politics is proud to work with colleagues and partners throughout the country to advance women in politics and leadership. This week, footnotes is proud to host a guest blog post from Susan Rose, a former county supervisor (Santa Barbara, CA) and faculty member of CAWP's 2012 Project. In this post, Susan highlights the important work done by the Santa Barbara Women's Political Committee as it celebrates its 25th anniversary. Thank you to Susan and to the SBWPC for your work on behalf of women! Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee: 25th Anniversary Susan Rose

Susan-Rose-BIG-version
The Honorable Susan Rose
 

 

The 2012 election resulted in some formidable firsts for women.  Although the percentage of women in the U.S. Congress still remains low (18%), they broke several glass ceilings.  Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay person elected to the U.S. Senate; Tammy Duckworth the first disabled veteran in Congress; Tulsi Gabbard the first Hindu in Congress; and Mazie Hirono the first Asian-American woman in the Senate. However, there is still much unfinished business for the feminist agenda and an imperative need to secure the gains that have been made.  To do that, more women must run for national office.  How can women candidates get started in politics?  Is there a pipeline and if not can one be created? In the late 1980’s, a small group of women gathered in Santa Barbara, California and asked the question: can women have a significant impact by acting locally?  Reflecting on 25 years of political activism, the answer is an unqualified yes.  The following narrative describes how these feminists created a pipeline using an activist model. The Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee (SBWPC) was established in January of 1988, with a raucous reception in a popular watering hole that brought out 250 women and men.  Betty Friedan was the keynote speaker that evening and anti-choice opponents picketed the event.  The time was right to organize! sbwpc-logoFrom the beginning, the SBWPC defined itself as a feminist organization.  Their mission states: “The Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee is dedicated to furthering gender equality and other feminist values through political and social action, and educational activities.  As a political action committee, we endorse the candidacies of women and men who actively support our goals and promote a feminist agenda.” During these 25 years, the SBWPC has pursued gender equity through many avenues but with the specific focus of creating social change through public policy.  The theory that female elected officials would do more to make a difference in the lives of women has since been documented by academic institutes like the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.  Additional research from Stanford has demonstrated that female legislators perform better than their male counterparts once in office. To attain gender equity, the SBWPC aimed to achieve representational balance by electing feminist women to public office.  Over these years, the organization has supported many women for school boards, city councils, boards of supervisors, the state legislature, California statewide offices, congress and the presidency. During the 1990’s, more women began to run for office in Santa Barbara.  Since 1999, the county has been represented by a woman in congress.  Women have comprised as much as 80% of the County Board of Supervisors, served as mayors, District Attorney, and in both houses of the state legislature. They also hold many positions on school boards and local commissions. Since 1988, the SBWPC had endorsed 95 candidates.  A total of fifty-six of those were women (59%).  Only four of the women lost. All candidates endorsed the feminist agenda. The success of the organization is best demonstrated by the impact these women have had on public policy and governance.  Issues and legislation introduced by women elected to office in Santa Barbara have covered a broad range of topics:

  • Congresswoman Lois Capps has been committed to women and families by supporting legislation on health care, the environment and education including the Affordable Health Care Act;
  • State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson has emphasized domestic violence and reproductive rights.  Jackson’s legislation has assisted victims of abuse and created access to affordable reproductive care.
  • District Attorney Joyce Dudley has worked to expand rape laws, eliminate rape kit backlogs and increase timely testing of all kits.
  • The late County Supervisor Naomi Schwartz chaired both the local First Five Children’s Commission and the California Coastal Commission making children and the environment her hallmark issues.
  • County Supervisor Janet Wolf has focused on health care and gender balance in public appointments.  Wolf has worked to expand breast cancer digital mammography services for under-served women.
  • As Mayor of the City of Santa Barbara, Helene Schneider has established a focus on fair pay, housing, homelessness, human services and education.

In its early days, the SBWPC founding board of directors created a set of tools that enabled them to ensure the election of feminist women to office.  They include:

  • Position papers;
  • Recruitment of women candidates;
  • Campaign skills workshops;
  • Candidate assessment teams;
  • Endorsements;
  • State and federal PAC money; and
  • Media strategies.

These tools are still in place today and guide the board in their decision-making. The question of supporting male candidates arose in the early years.  On the occasions when they did not have women candidates, the SBWPC endorsed men who, in turn, supported their agenda.  As a result of this policy, today the endorsement of the SBWPC is highly sought after by all candidates in Santa Barbara. Many of the first candidates to be endorsed by the PAC were founding board members.  As they left the board to run for office, others took their place.  The board itself became a source for candidates, creating an early pipeline.  Some went on to join public boards and commissions and others became staff members to the newly elected women.  As part of their current organizational structure, the SBWPC has a standing pipeline committee that focuses on recruiting women for future elections. In Santa Barbara County, women have achieved political and electoral success by grass roots organizing, marching, mentoring, advocating and campaigning.  As a result of these efforts, the Santa Barbara Women’s Political Committee has created a culture where women in public office are the norm not the exception. The organizational model developed by the SBWPC has been tried and tested over the years. It can be replicated in other communities.  It has worked on a local level, why not nationally? If you or your organization would like to submit a guest blog post to footnotes, please email Kelly Dittmar at kdittmar@rci.rutgers.edu.

Gaining Momentum? Taking stock on International Women’s Day

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is “The Gender Agenda: Gaining Momentum.” Global organizers provide this overview for the celebration’s focus: Over time and distance, the equal rights of women have progressed. We celebrate the achievements of women while remaining vigilant and tenacious for further sustainable change. There is global momentum for championing women's equality. iwd_squareWhen it comes to women’s equitable political representation, the United States needs greater momentum to catch up to most of the world. Today, the United States ranks 77th in the world for women’s parliamentary representation. Accounting for ties, 91 countries actually top the U.S. in the proportion of women in national legislative posts. And, the pace of change in women’s congressional representation in the U.S. over the past decade has been slower than the increases in women’s global parliamentary presence. Some argue that advancing gender equality at all levels will pave the way to women’s leadership at the highest echelons of power, including head of state. But, of course, the momentum for change can come from the top down: many hope that female heads of state will both champion and inspire women’s equality. Most likely, the possibilities for advancement move in both directions. Seventeen women serve as heads of state in 2013. Sixty-nine women (from 46 countries) have acted as their country’s presidents or prime ministers, and almost half of those women took office in the past decade. Unfortunately, we cannot count the United States among them. While it is too simplistic to assume female heads of state will  fix gender inequity in their respective countries, one need only watch Australian Prime Minister Gillard’s recent floor speech on sexism and misogyny to see the benefit of a woman’s voice taken seriously in governmental debates – not only on policy issues, but on institutional norms and processes. As we celebrate the “global momentum for championing women’s equality” today, we should consider how to encourage greater momentum toward women’s political equality at home and abroad. For the United States, that means rejecting complacency about our unimpressive rankings for women’s political leadership and looking to our friends throughout the globe for inspiration on how (and why) to increase women’s political representation at all levels of government. For CAWP's ideas on how to celebrate International Women's Day, click here.  

Presidential Lists are Due for Disruption

Today, as we celebrate those individuals who have held our nation’s highest office, it is worth taking note the absence of women from the list of 44 male presidents who have served in U.S. history. While multiple trailblazing women have challenged the expectations of masculine leadership in the White House, too few have received the recognition they deserved or the votes they needed to be labeled as “viable” contenders.Presidents-Day-Graphic-2014-MS The words “woman president” today often cue “Hillary Clinton” among peers, colleagues, family, and friends. Too few people think of Margaret Chase Smith’s historic bid in 1964, as the first woman to have her name placed in nomination at a major party convention; or Shirley Chisholm in 1972, who was the first woman and the first African American to have her name placed in nomination for the presidency at a Democratic National Convention, winning 151.95 delegate votes; or even Victoria Woodhull in 1872, who campaigned for the presidency before women could even vote nationwide. It’s true the 18 million cracks Hillary Clinton made in the proverbial “marble ceiling” of presidential politics may have made it less remarkable for a woman to be taken seriously as a presidential contender, but, as Dr. Ruth Mandel has written, the women who ran before her were instrumental in “[making] the idea [of a woman president] less outrageous to conceive.”  Hillary Clinton is not only viewed as the most viable women who has run, but supporters and opponents alike view her as the most likely woman who will run in 2016. Consistent with all things Clinton, the attention paid to a possible Hillary Clinton candidacy in 2016 is already extreme. Thirty-three months before Election Day 2016, major news outlets like Time Magazine and the New York Times Magazine have made Clinton’s potential bid their cover stories, and few of Clinton’s public appearances go by without analysis over what they indicate about her campaign strategy. But as the assumptions of a Clinton candidacy grow stronger, the idea that she is the (cue: only) woman candidate in 2016 is not only unfair to the many qualified women who could be added to the Democratic and Republican short lists (see Kasie Hunt's commentary on this here), but also places a great deal of pressure on Clinton. While Democratic short lists for 2016 have included more women than in the past – floating Senators Warren, Gillibrand, and Klobuchar in addition to Secretary Clinton, men’s names outnumber women’s names, and few Republican short lists have included women amidst a very open, and arguably weak, Republican field. When women like Governor Susana Martinez are discussed, they are often considered as potential Vice Presidential nominees instead of among those likely to top the party ticket. These short lists are not only important in the horse race, but present cues to voters about who is qualified to run for president. And though women’s stables of elected officials remain smaller than men’s at all levels, there are just as many qualified women – Democrats and Republicans – as men to seek a home in the Oval Office.  So as we reflect on the absence of women on the list of U.S. presidents to date, let’s also question the dearth of women’s names floated as potential presidential contenders.

Art Imitates Life...in Politics

Six of this year’s nine Best Picture Oscar nominees are based on true stories – from 12 Years a Slave’s adaptation of Solomon Northrup’s 1853 memoir to American Hustle’s admission that “some of oscars_leadthis actually happened” in the FBI’s Abscam operation. Whether nearer to or farther from the truth, these movies demonstrate the ways in which the art of film draws from the realities in life. In politics, one of those realities is the dearth of women in elected office. Despite the progress in recent decades, women still represent less than a quarter of elected officials at the state, statewide, and federal levels. Even fewer elected women make it to the big screen. In a recent analysis of family films released between 2006 and 2011, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media found no speaking character played a powerful American female political figure, compared to 45 U.S. male politicians. And among films with a more adult audience, very few films with prominent political women characters, especially from the U.S., come to mind. Look for lists of movies with fictional political women leads and the most commonly cited films date back more than a decade, with Joan Allen’s portrayal of a vice presidential nominee in The Contender (2000) and Glenn Close as Vice President in Air Force One (1997). The most recent films based on real-life female politicians profile women leaders from outside of the United States (e.g. The Iron Lady (2011), The Lady (2011), The Queen (2006)). Fictional and memorialized American male politicians are easier to find in film history. Last year’s Oscar season buzzed with portrayals of two male presidents in Lincoln (2012) and Hyde Park on Hudson (2012). The year before, The Ides of March (2011) received an Oscar nomination for its screenplay about a male presidential contender. And few female roles compare to those  of Kevin Kline as President Bill Mitchell in Dave (1993)or Michael Douglas as President Andrew Shepherd in The American President (1995). So have films settled for the status quo by leaving political women out of the equation? Not entirely. While few, there are examples of films introducing audiences to fictional political women leaders. In 1931, just over a decade after women won the right to vote, Oscar-winner Marie Dressler played Hattie Burns, a middle-aged widow turned mayoral candidate in Politics (1931). In 1947, a year when only eight women served in the U.S. Congress, Loretta Young played Katie Holstrom, a farm girl turned Congresswoman, in The Farmer’s Daughter. Project Moonbase, a futuristic film released in 1953, is recognized as the first film with a woman president, though she is never seen on screen. A decade later, Polly Bergen played President Leslie McLoud in Kisses for My President (1964), a comedic take on the challenges that might face the first female president (and her male spouse) upon moving into the White House. That year, real U.S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) became the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the presidency by either of the two major political parties. Life imitating art? Maybe. At the Center for American Women and Politics, we know that Marian Wright Edelman’s reminder that “you can’t be what you can’t see” is especially true when it comes to women and elected office. In addition to increasing the number of elected women who can serve as role models in real life, bringing more elected women – whether fictional or not – to the big screen can help to alter the image of political leadership so that a President Leslie McCloud doesn’t seem so far from reality. We're looking for your help! Here is a working list of fictional films with elected women characters. Can you add to this list? Post a comment here or on our Facebook page with additions. Politics (1931): Middle-aged widow Hattie Burns (Marie Dressler) becomes fed up when local small-town politicians ignore corruption and decides to run for mayor herself. The Farmer’s Daughter (1947): Katie Holstrom (Loretta Young) plays a farm girl who ends up working as a maid for a congressman and his politically powerful mother. After voicing her opinion at a public meeting, she is backed by leaders of the opposition party for a coming election to fill the seat of a deceased congressman. After her opponent attempts to smear her, Katie is proposed to by the congressman for whom she worked and, then, wins the support of his powerful mother, assuring her election. In the final scene, Glenn carries Katie across the threshold of the United States House of Representatives. Key to the City (1950): At a mayors convention in San Francisco, ex-longshoreman Steve Fisk meets Clarissa Standish (Loretta Young)  from New England. Fisk is mayor of "Puget City" and is proud of his rough and tumble background. Standish is mayor of "Winona, Maine", and is equally proud of her education and dedication to the people who elected her. Thrown together, the two opposites attract and their escapades during the convention get each of them in hot water back home. Project Moonbase (1953): A woman is president of the US in the script, but the character is never seen on screen. Kisses for my President (1964): When the women of America join together on election day and elect a Leslie McCloud (Polly Bergen) as the US President, things get a little awkward. Especially for her husband Thad NcCloud. He, as First Husband, must take over the job as The First Lady, in the women's groups and garden parties. Whoops Apocalypse (1986): Loretta Swit is Barbara Adams, the first female president. She was only sworn in office when the previous president, an ex-circus clown (a parody of Ronald Reagan's entertainment career), died after asking a journalist to hit him in the stomach with a crowbar as a test of physical strength (a take on the death of Harry Houdini). Air Force One (1997): Glenn Close plays the Vice President of the United States. The Contender (2000): Sexy secrets from a woman’s (Joan Allen) past come to light as she runs for Vice President. The Woman Every Man Wants/Perfect Love (2001): Sally Champlin plays the role of female president in this futuristic sci-fi film. Mayor Cupcake (2011): A hard-working cupcake maker (Lea Thompson) is inadvertently elected mayor of a small town burdened with debt. Uneducated, she relies on her street smarts to clean up the town.

#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: 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: 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)  

#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.

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