November’s general election will see at least 59 women after their individual wins in the primary races. With a majority of Democrats, this puts women at winning at least half of the major Democratic primaries this year. According to a comprehensive analysis done by FiveThirtyEight, “women have won 65 percent (90 of 138) of decided open Democratic primary races featuring at least one man and one woman.” This furthers the sentiment that this truly is the year of the democratic women in politics.
Although women’s representation in Congress has almost doubled since 1992, the House and Senate combined have never been more than 20 percent women. With so many women running for – and winning – Democratic party seats, this seems much more attainable. Not only is it record-breaking for women overall, but it is also a first in these individuals’ positions.
Deb Haaland, the Democratic primary winner in New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, would become the first Native American woman in Congress if she wins the seat. She has been working in politics for many years, mostly volunteering, but found her fire only after working on campaigns.
Haaland hopes to focus on those in underrepresented communities, which in New Mexico is a majority of Native American communities. As far as her plan between now and the election, Haaland says, “I’m just staying completely focused on an extremely strong field program in District 1 and beyond. We’re just going to be completely focused on having a robust voter turnout in November.”
Haaland is looking to secure the seat left by Michelle Lujan Grisham, another women looking at a record first if she wins New Mexico’s race for governor. Grisham would be the nation’s first Latina Democratic governor. She, along with four other female candidates, advanced in the governor primaries including Rep. Kristi Noem of South Dakota. Noem would be the the first woman to be nominated for governor in her state if she wins.
In Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, Abby Finkenauer, 29, easily won the Democratic Primary. If elected, Finkenauer would be the nation’s youngest woman ever elected to Congress. She has been a strong voice who describes herself as “a millennial” who’s “still paying off student loans” and “unabashedly Democratic.” She hopes to speak for those who she believes have been left behind and fed lines by those in government who have yet to deliver.
Sharice Davids is looking at being the first openly gay Native American nominee for Congress in Kansas. An Ex-MMA fighter, Davids believes she is ready to fight on the forefront of politics for her state and country. Davids also said she felt comfortable in her Kansas community growing up and this has fed into her passion for making sure that others in her state feel just as supported.
“I think there are a lot of people here who really don’t agree with the impression you might get from the legislature or decisions that come out of the legislature,” she said. “People here don’t want folks to be treated as second-class citizens because they are part of the LGBTQ community.”
It will be a momentous occasion if Davids secures a congressional seat for the LGBTQ community, racial minorities, and women alike. Davids hopes that by winning the seat she can create real change and progress, plus overturn Republican Trump ally Kevin Yoder.
“It’s less of a wave and more of a rising tide,” Davids said. “It’s more long-term.”
This sentiment is reflective of Democratic women as a whole this election cycle. The rising tide of women is building to flood American government with plenty of hope and change. The increasing number of wins by women in politics is both exciting for the future and reflective of where we have come from. In the shadow of the repression of women in politics, the sun, it seems, may finally be shifting.
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