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New Records for Women Candidates as 2020 Election Filings Close

The women of the Democratic Party set a new record for filed U.S. House candidates as the final filing deadlines for candidacies closed for the 2020 elections, according to data compiled by the Center for American Women and Politics, a unit of the Eagleton New jersey politics 2 copy Institute of Politics at Rutgers University. In the 2020 election, 357 Democratic women have filed for House contests, narrowly surpassing the record of 356 set during the 2018 election, when a tide of newly-elected Democratic women representatives helped to flip control of the House. See full information, including data visualizations, at CAWP's Election Watch 2020 Candidates Summary.

By contrast, Republican women overwhelmingly eclipsed their previous record for filed House candidates. The prior record, set in 2010, was 133. This year, 227 GOP women are running for House seats nationwide. Women have also surpassed the overall record for major-party House candidates this year. In 2020, 584 women have filed to run in U.S. House races, outpacing the previous record, set in 2018, of 476. These numbers may change slightly should state candidate lists be revised in the coming weeks.

While women's candidacies are at record highs, they remain underrepresented among all candidates for the U.S. House. Women are 29% of all U.S. House candidates, including 37.8% of Democrats and 21.2% of Republicans running for the House in 2020. These percentages are greater than in 2018, but still fall short of gender parity within and across parties. 

"In 2020, we're surpassing the records of just two years ago, an encouraging sign that we could be entering a new era of women's political participation," said CAWP Director Debbie Walsh. "But electoral progress for women should be the norm, not the exception, in a political system where women remain significantly underrepresented as officeholders."

With primaries still to be held in 19 states, Republican women have already set records for the number of general-election nominees in House races, with 63 women advancing past the primaries in 2020, compared to the previous record of 53, set in 2004. Democratic women have secured 135 House nominations so far in the 2020 election; the record for Democratic women House nominees was set in the 2018 midterms at 182. For overall general election House nominations, 198 women are nominees in House races thus far, compared to the record 234 women who won nominations in the 2018 midterm.

Women of both parties have also set records for U.S. Senate candidacies this year. The 60 women who have filed to run for Senate seats surpasses the previous record of 53, set in 2018. Republican women have surpassed by one their previous Senate candidate record, with 23 women running in 2020 compared to 22 in 2018. For Democrats, 37 women are running in Senate races this year, besting their 2018 high of 31.

Women are 23.8% of all U.S. Senate candidates in 2020, including 30.8% of Democratic and 17.4% of Republican Senate candidates. They are better represented overall and among Republicans than they were in 2018 Senate contests, while Democratic women make up a slightly smaller percentage of their party's Senate candidates this year.

Finally, women have already tied their record for all-woman general-election congressional races. The record, first set in 2018, is 33. With primaries still to be held in 19 states, this record could very well be broken during the 2020 election.  Learn more about all-woman races at the congressional and gubernatorial levels this year and historically here.

For more information about women and the 2020 elections, with interactive data visualizations, see our 2020 Candidates Summary. Full context about women in the 2020 elections, including candidate lists, all-woman races, primary results, and expert analysis, is available at CAWP's Election Watch. For historical comparisons to previous election cycles, see our Past Candidate and Election Information page, which now includes revamped candidate summaries for elections from 1990 to the present complete with the same data visualizations present in our 2020 Candidates Summary.
About CAWP
The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is nationally recognized as the leading source of scholarly research and current data about women's political participation in the United States. Its mission is to promote greater knowledge and understanding about the role of women in American politics, enhance women's influence in public life, and expand the diversity of women in politics and government. CAWP's education and outreach programs translate research findings into action, addressing women's under-representation in political leadership with effective, intersectional, and imaginative programs serving a variety of audiences. As the world has watched Americans considering female candidates for the nation's highest offices, CAWP's five decades of analyzing and interpreting women's participation in American politics have provided a foundation and context for the discussion.