New All-Woman Contests to Watch in Maine and Texas


Congressional primaries were held on Tuesday in Maine and primary runoffs were held in Alabama and Texas. Some contests remain too close to call, so this post will be updated as results are determined. Full context about women in the 2020 elections, including candidate lists, summaries, results from previous primaries, and historical comparisons, are available via the Center for American Women and Politics’ Election Watch page.

Among the most notable results for women:

  • Sara Gideon (D) won the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Senator Susan Collins (R), who was unopposed in her bid for the Republican nomination for re-election. This all-woman contest is currently rated as a toss-up by Cook Political Report.
  • Candace Valenzuela (D) won the Democratic nomination for the open seat in Texas’ 24th congressional district. Beth Van Duyne (R) secured the Republican nomination in this all-woman contest in March. This contest is currently rated as a toss-up by Cook Political Report. If successful in November, Valenzuela will be the first Afro-Latina to serve in the U.S. Congress.
  • More than 50% of the women U.S. House nominees from Texas this year are women of color.
  • With nominations yet to be decided in many states, there are already 32 all-woman congressional (U.S. House or Senate) contests now set for November. The current record high for all-woman congressional contests in a single cycle is 33.
  • MJ Hegar won the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Senator John Cornyn (R) in November. This contest is currently rated as “Likely Republican” by Cook Political Report.  

Maine

Texas

Alabama

 

Maine


U.S. Senate

Sara Gideon (D) won the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Senator Susan Collins (R), who was unopposed in her bid for the Republican nomination for re-election. This all-woman contest is currently rated as a toss-up by Cook Political Report.

Two other all-woman U.S. Senate contests are already set for November in Iowa and West Virginia. No men ran for major-party nominations for the U.S. Senate in Maine this year. Two women and a candidate who identifies as non-binary competed for the Democratic nomination.


U.S. House

There is currently 1 (1D) woman in Maine’s two-member delegation to the U.S. House. Incumbent Representative Chellie Pingree (D) was unopposed in the primary election and is favored to win re-election in November. She is the only woman among the four major-party candidates to advance in Maine's House elections in November. One (1R) woman was defeated in the primary. 

 

Texas


U.S. Senate

MJ Hegar won the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Senator John Cornyn (R) in November. This contest is currently rated as “Likely Republican” by Cook Political Report.  

  • Just one woman has served in the U.S. Senate from Texas: Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R) served from 1993-2013. Hegar would be the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate from Texas.
  • Hegar was the Democratic nominee in Texas’ 31st congressional district in 2018; she lost to incumbent Representative John Carter by 3 points in the general election. 


U.S. House

Women are currently 6 (5D, 1R) of 36 members of the Texas delegation to the U.S. House.

Prior to the runoff elections on Tuesday, women had secured 19 of 57 (33.3%) nominations for the U.S. House in Texas. In the July 14th runoff election, 6 (3D, 3R) more women won nominations.

  • Lulu Seikaly (D) won the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Representative Van Taylor (R) in Texas’ 3rd congressional district. This contest is currently rated as “Solid Republican” by Cook Political Report.
  • Monica de la Cruz-Hernandez (R) won the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Representative Vicente Gonzalez in Texas’ 15th congressional district. This contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report.
  • Irene Armendariz-Jackson (R) won the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Representative Veronica Escobar (D) in an all-woman contest in Texas’ 16th congressional district. This contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report.
  • Candace Valenzuela (D) won the Democratic nomination for the open seat in Texas’ 24th congressional district. Beth Van Duyne (R) secured the Republican nomination in March. This all-woman contest is currently rated as a toss-up by Cook Political Report. If successful in November, Valenzuela will be the first Afro-Latina to serve in the U.S. Congress.
  • Donna Imam (D) won the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Representative John Carter (R) in Texas’ 31st congressional district. This contest is currently rated as “Likely Republican” by Cook Political Report. Imam and Gina Ortiz-Jones (D), who won the Democratic nomination in Texas’ 23rd congressional district in March, would be the first Asian women to represent Texas in the U.S. Congress.
  • Jennifer Garcia Shannon (R) won the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Representative Lloyd Doggett (D) in Texas’ 35th congressional district. This contest is currently rated as “Solid Democratic” by Cook Political Report.

Together with the women who secured nominations in March, women are 25 (17D, 8R) of 70 (35.7%) nominees for U.S. House in Texas. This year, 41 (17D, 24R) women House candidates were unsuccessful in their primary bids for the U.S. House in Texas.

  • 6 (5D, 1R) women incumbents are running for re-election.
  • 3 (2D, 1R) women are running for open seats.
    • Gina Ortiz Jones (D) is the Democratic nominee for the open seat in Texas’ 23rd congressional district, where she narrowly lost to incumbent Representative Will Hurd (R) in 2018. This contest is currently rated as “Lean Democratic” by Cook Political Report. If elected in November, Jones will be the first Asian woman in Congress from Texas as well as the first openly LGBTQ member of Congress from Texas.
    • Candace Valenzuela (D) is the Democratic nominee and Beth Van Duyne (R) is the Republican nominee for the open seat in Texas’ 24th congressional district. This all-woman contest is currently rated as a toss-up by Cook Political Report. If successful in November, Valenzuela will be the first Afro-Latina to serve in the U.S. Congress.
  • 16 (10D, 6R) women are running as challengers.
    • Of the 16 (10D, 6R) women candidates already nominated to challenge incumbents in November, only 2 (1D, 1R) are running in a contest currently deemed competitive by Cook Political Report. Former state senator and gubernatorial nominee Wendy Davis (D) is will challenge incumbent Representative Chip Roy (R) in Texas’ 21st congressional district, which is currently rated as “Lean Republican.” Genevieve Collins (R) will challenge incumbent Representative Colin Allred (D) in Texas’ 32nd congressional district, which is currently rated as “Lean Democrat.”

Of the 25 (17D, 8R) women House nominees already selected, 15 (11D, 4R) are women of color, including 7 (3D, 4R) Latinas, 3 (3D) Black women, 2 (2D) Asian women, 2 (2D) women who identify as Middle Eastern/Northern African (MENA), and 1 (1D) woman who identifies as Afro-Latina. No woman identifying as Asian/Pacific Islander or Middle Eastern/Northern African (MENA) has ever represented Texas in the U.S. Congress. No Afro-Latina has ever served in the U.S. Congress.

 

Alabama


U.S. House

Women are currently 2 (1D, 1R) of 7 members of the Alabama delegation to the U.S. House.

Prior to the runoff elections on Tuesday, women had secured 3 of 8 (37.5%) major-party nominations for U.S. House seats in Alabama. Kiani Gardner (D) was unsuccessful in the July 14th runoff election for the Democratic nomination in Alabama’s 1st congressional district.

Together with the women who secured nominations in March, women are 3 of 11 (27.3%) nominees for U.S. House in Alabama, including 3 of 5 (60%) Democratic nominees and 0 of 6 (0%) Republican nominees. This ensures that Alabama will have no Republican women in Congress in 2021. In 2020, 3 (1D, 2R) women House candidates were unsuccessful in their primary bids for the U.S. House in Alabama.

  • Incumbent Representative Terri Sewell (D) was unopposed in her primary bid for re-election in Alabama’s 7th congressional district. She has no Republican opponent this fall.
  • Incumbent Representative Martha Roby (R), one of just 13 Republican women in the U.S. House, did not run for re-election this year in Alabama’s 2nd congressional district.
  • 1 (1D) woman is running for an open seat.
    • Phyllis Harvey-Hall (D) is the Democratic nominee in Alabama’s 2nd congressional district, an open seat created by Roby’s retirement. This contest is currently rated as “Solid Republican” by Cook Political Report.
  • 1 (1D) woman is running as a challenger.
    • Adia Winfrey (D) was unopposed in her bid for the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Representative Mike Rogers (R) in Alabama’s 3rd congressional district. This contest is currently rated as “Solid Republican” by Cook Political Report. 

All 3 (3D) women House nominees in Alabama are Black.