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A Record Number of Women Will Serve in Congress

Results: Women Candidates in the 2018 Elections
 
 
Politics
 

*For the most up-to-date figures, see our 2018 election tally. To see this release in pdf form, click here.

A record number of women will serve in the U.S. Congress in January 2019, according to Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers.
 
In the 116th Congress, at least 123 women will serve overall, increasing the percentage of women in Congress from 20% to 23% at minimum. That includes the 118 (100D, 18R) women who have already been declared winners, as well as guaranteed seats for women in all-female contests in the House (4) and Senate (1) that have yet to be decided.
  • At least 100 women will serve in the U.S. House (previous record: 85 set in 2016), including a minimum of 40 (40D) women of color. Women will be at least 23% of all members of the U.S. House, up from 19.3% in 2018.
  • At least 23 women will serve in the U.S. Senate (previous record: 23), including 4 (4D) women of color. Women will be at least 23% of all members of the U.S. Senate, matching women's current level of Senate representation.
With one gubernatorial contest still undecided, at least 9 (6D, 3R) women will serve as governors in 2019, including 1 (1D) woman of color. Stacey Abrams (D), who would be the first Black woman governor, is still contesting her race in Georgia.
 
The freshman class of women in the House of Representatives in 2019 will be the largest ever with a minimum of 32 non-incumbent women elected. 31 (30D, 1R) non-incumbent women have already won and 13 (9D, 4R) more are in undecided contests. The previous high was 24, set in 1992.
 
"We've seen important breakthroughs, particularly in the U.S. House," said CAWP Director Debbie Walsh, "but deepening disparities between the parties in women's representation will continue to hobble us on the path to parity. We need women elected on both sides of the aisle."

 

U.S. Senate
 
12 (10D, 2R) women have already won races for the U.S. Senate. When combined with the 10 women already serving from other Senate classes and the guaranteed pick-up for a woman in Arizona's undecided senate contest, the 116th Congress will see at least 23 women serving in the Senate; 16 Democrats and 6 Republicans have been selected already. This matches the previous record of 23, set in 2018. One race remains undecided in Mississippi, where Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) will compete in a runoff; her success would yield a record level of women in the U.S. Senate.
  • At least 10 (9D, 1R) women incumbent Senators won re-election this year. 2 (2D) women incumbent women Senators were defeated: Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).
  • Of the 2 (1D, 1R) newcomers already elected, 1 woman won an open seat (Marsha Blackburn R-TN) and 1 woman (Jacky Rosen D-NV) defeated an incumbent.
Incumbent Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI), who was re-elected this year, was the only woman of color nominee for the U.S. Senate. Four women of color will serve in the U.S. Senate in the 116th Congress, the same number as in the 115th.
 
Two states will send their first women to the U.S. Senate in 2019: Arizona (Kyrsten Sinema or Martha McSally) and Tennessee (Marsha Blackburn), bringing the number of states who have never had a woman senator down to 18.

 

U.S. House
 
At least 100 women won races for the U.S. House and will serve in the 116th Congress, a new record. The previous record number of women serving in the House was 85, set in 2016. While there will be a record number of Democratic women serving in 2019 (at least 84 vs. previous record of 63), there will not be a record number of Republican women in the House next year. In fact, the number of Republican women in the U.S. House will likely drop between 2018 and 2019, while the number of Democratic women in the House will increase by at least 21 next year. Thirteen races with 17 women candidates remain undecided.
  • At least 65 (54D, 11R) women House incumbents won re-election this year. 2 (2R) women House incumbents were defeated thus far: Barbara Comstock R-VA and Claudia Tenney (R-NY). 5 women incumbents are in races that are too close to call.
  • Of the 31 (30D, 1R) newcomers already selected, 19 (18D, 1R) won open seats and 12 (12D) defeated incumbents. 12 non-incumbent women are in races that are too close to call.
 
Newly-Elected Women, U.S. House
Cindy Axne (D-IA)
Angela Craig (D-MN)
Sharice Davids (D-KS)
Madeleine Dean (D-PA)
Veronica Escobar (D-TX)
Abby Finkenauer (D-IA)
Elizabeth Pannill Fletcher (D-TX)
Sylvia Garcia (D-TX)
Debra Haaland (D-NM)
Jahana Hayes (D-CT)
 
Kendra Horn (D-OK)
Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA)
Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ)
Susie Lee (D-NV)
Elaine Luria (D-VA)
Carol Miller (R-WV)
Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL)
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY)
Ilhan Omar (D-MN)
Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)
 
Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA)
Donna Shalala (D-FL)
Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ)
Elissa Slotkin (D-MI)
Abigail Spanberger (D-VA)
Haley Stevens (D-MI)
Rashida Tlaib (D-MI)
Lori Trahan (D-MA)
Lauren Underwood (D-IL)
Jennifer Wexton (D-VA)
Susan Ellis Wild (D-PA)
 
*Challengers (nominees who defeated incumbents) are italicized. All other women listed won open seat contests.
 
There will be a record total of at least 40 women of color in the House. Of the women of color already selected, 21 (21D) are Black women, 10 (10D) are Latinas, 6 (6D) are Asian/Pacific Islander women, 2 (2D) are Native American women, and 1 (1D) is a Middle Eastern/North African woman. The previous high was 34. The number of non-incumbent women of color elected in 2018 is already a record high; at least 11 (11D) new women of color will enter the 116th Congress, up from a previous record of 6 (first set in 2012). The new House members include 4 (4D) Black women (Hayes, Omar, Pressley, Underwood), 4 (4D) Latinas (Escobar, Garcia, Murcarsel-Powell, Ocasio-Cortez), 2 (2D) Native American women (Davids, Haaland), and one Middle Eastern/North African woman (Tlaib). 6 (3D, 3R) women of color candidates remain in races that are too close to call.
  • Deb Haaland (D-NM) and Sharice Davids (D-KS) are the first Native American women elected to the U.S. Congress.
  • Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) are the first Muslim women elected to Congress.
  • Three states will send their first women of color to Congress: Connecticut (Hayes), Massachussetts (Pressley), Minnesota (Omar), and Kansas (Davids).
  • Veronica Escobar (D) and Sylvia Garcia (D) will become the first Latinas to represent Texas in Congress, a state that is nearly 40% Hispanic.
Iowa elected their first women to the U.S. House in 2018. In 2019, four states will have never sent a woman to the U.S. House: Alaska, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Vermont.
In addition, 2 non-voting delegates from Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands were re-elected this year. One race is still too close to call. All of the women delegates serving in the 116th Congress will be women of color.
 
Governor
 
9 (6D, 3R) women have already won races for governor in 2018, matching the previous record number of women governors serving simultaneously, in both 2004 and 2007. The current number matches the previous high for Democratic women governors serving at the same time, but falls short of hitting the record for Republican women governors serving together (3 vs. previous record of 4). One race with a woman nominee remains undecided in Georgia.
  • 4 (2D, 2R) incumbent women governors won re-election this year and 2 more women were term-limited: Susana Martinez (R-NM) and Mary Fallin (R-OK).
  • Of the 5 (4D, 1R) new women governors already selected, all won open seats (Laura Kelly in Kansas, Michelle Lujan Grisham in New Mexico, Janet Mills in Maine, Kristi Noem in South Dakota, and Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan).
  • As a Latina, Michele Lujan Grisham (NM) will be the first Democratic woman of color governor nationwide.
Three states elected their first woman governors in 2018: Maine, South Dakota, and Iowa (where incumbent Governor Kim Reynolds was previously appointed). In 2019, 20 states will remain that have never had a woman governor.

 

In addition, 48 (27D, 20R, 1NP) women won other statewide elected executive offices this year. 14 races remain undecided.
  • Peggy Flanagan (D-MN), elected as Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota, will be the first woman of color elected to statewide executive office in Minnesota as well as just the second Native American woman ever elected to statewide executive office nationwide.
  • With her election to the New York Attorney General's office, Letitia James is the first woman of color elected statewide in New York.
  • Kimberly Yee, elected to the State Treasurer's office, will be the first GOP woman of color serving statewide in Arizona. 
About CAWP
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.

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