2018 is a Record Year for Women seeking Top Spot in Many States

2018 is a Record Year for Women in the MidTerm elections — especially for those seeking a spot in a Governor’s mansion.

It’s a record breaking year — there are 16 women running for Governor throughout the U.S. with 44 other women running and losing during Primaries.  The previous record was 10 set in 1994 (and matched a few times throughout the years since).  Currently only six women serve as Governors across America.

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The Incumbents

Four of these candidates – Kay Ivey (R-Alabama), Kim Reynolds (R-Iowa), Kate Brown (D-Oregon), and Gina Raimondo (D-Rhode Island) – are incumbents seeking re-election, with all leading in the polls except Reynolds who is currently statistically tied with her opponent.  It is highly likely that these incumbents will hold their own on election day.

The Challengers

Four women are challenging incumbents in their races – Andria Tupola (R-Hawaii), Molly Kelly (D-New Hampshire), Lupe Valdez (D-Texas), and Christine Hallquist (D-Vermont).  In these races, challenging an incumbent is always an uphill battle.  At this point, none are projected to win but each are making a strong showing and increasing their political visibility for future races. But keep an eye on them — in this year of the woman, anything could happen.

Open Seats

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams

The largest group of the lot – eight in all – are running for Open Seats – Stacey Abrams (D-Georgia), Paulette Jordan (D-Idaho), Laura Kelly (D-Kansas), Janet Mills (D-Maine), Gretchen Whitmer (D-Michigan), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-New Mexico), Kristi Lynn Noem (R-South Dakota), and Mary Throne (D-Wyoming).  These are some of the more high profile races throughout the country.  Mills, Whitmer, Grisham, and Noem all have solid leads in their races.  As Democrats, both Jordan and Throne are fighting uphill battles in strong red states.  Abrams and Kelly are both in races that are considered toss-ups – statistical ties.

With accusations of voter suppression, the Georgia race has been in the headlines for the past two weeks.  Abram’s opponent – Secretary of State Brian Kemp – has been enforcing voter registration rules that are having a disproportionate impact on voters of color.  Even with this controversy, the race is a statistical tie and considered a toss up.  If she wins, Abram’s, Georgia House of Representatives Minority Leader, would become the first black woman to serve as Governor of any state.  

Laura Kelly meeting with students.

Laura Kelly meeting with students.

In an interesting turn of events in Kansas, two former Republican Governors, as well as former US Senator Nancy Kassebaum, have endorsed Democrat Kelly over her Republican challenger Kris Kobach.  Contributing to the tight race is a third candidate, Independent Greg Orman who is currently capturing about 9% of the vote. It is the three-way race that it is keeping it so tight between the two main candidates.

Regardless of the outcome, it is certain that these women— and the many more who ran in primaries— are showing that woman can contend at the top of the state ticket. We look forward to congratulating them all on November 6! For more information on these candidates, please click on their names to visit their campaign websites.