Following primary elections in Alaska and Wyoming, women have secured 2,669 major-party nominations for state legislature seats across the country in 2018, according to data from the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP). The previous record, set in 2016, was 2,649. Twenty-three women in Alaska and twenty-six in Wyoming claimed victory in their primary elections on Tuesday night, pushing the total number of state house nominations to 2,184 (the highest in history) and state senate nominations to 485. As of Wednesday morning, ten women candidates for Alaska's state legislature are in contests that remain too close to call.
These new breakthroughs join a growing list of high-water marks for women in politics this year, including the most women filing for gubernatorial (62), U.S. House (476), and U.S. Senate (54) races and the most women winning nominations for governor (14), U.S. House (200), and U.S. Senate (19). Seven states still remain on the 2018 primary calendar, so these record numbers may not have crested yet.
"Today's new record could indicate a break from the stagnation in the number of women's state legislative candidacies we've seeing since the mid 1990s," says CAWP's director Debbie Walsh. "Without more women running, women can't make gains at this important level of office."
Stay tuned to CAWP's Election Watch summary for the latest numbers of women candidates and nominees, and watch for full analyses of primary results from Gender Watch 2018, a project of CAWP and the Barbara Lee Family Foundation.
The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers-New Brunswick, is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about American women's political participation. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about women's participation in politics and government and to enhance women's influence and leadership in public life. CAWP's education and outreach programs translate research findings into action, addressing women's under-representation in political leadership with effective, imaginative programs serving a variety of audiences. As the world has watched Americans considering female candidates for the nation's highest offices, CAWP's over four decades of analyzing and interpreting women's participation in American politics have provided a foundation and context for the discussion.