Muslim, African-American, Native American, Trans: Meet the Pioneering Women Running For Office in the 2018 Midterm Elections

Beth Greenfield & Elena Sheppard

Friday, Oct. 26, 2018

As you may have noticed, the “Year of the Woman” catchphrase — originally used in 1992, when voters elected more women to Congress than ever before in the wake of Anita Hill’s allegations against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas — is back with a vengeance.

It began with a slow burn after the 2016 elections, heated up with the Hill-like bravery of Christine Blasey Ford at the Brett Kavanaugh hearings, and has lately exploded in use to reference the record number of women running for office in the upcoming Nov. 6 midterm elections.

And whatever you think of the phrase itself, 2018, according to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), is record-breaking regarding women candidates running for offices across the board — U.S. Senate, U.S. House, state legislatures, and statewide offices, including governor races in 16 states, from Alabama to Wyoming.

“Women have secured a record number of nominations for executive and legislative offices at the state level,” said CAWP director Debbie Walsh in a press release. “As states across the country gear up for redistricting in 2020, the winners of these races will play an important role in the shaping of our nation’s politics for the next decade.”

Of the 16 states with women gubernatorial nominees in 2018 (up from the last record of 10, first set in 1994), four have never had a woman governor: Idaho, Georgia, Maine, and South Dakota. In Iowa, where incumbent Kim Reynolds, a Republican, is on the ballot after being appointed last year, no woman has ever been elected governor. Women of color, who currently hold just eight (2.6 percent) of statewide elected executive offices, are 10 percent of all nominees and 30 percent of women nominees for statewide elected executive office (including governor) this year.

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