There is an ‘avalanche’ of women running for office

April 10, 2018

CNN: There is an 'avalanche' of women running for office

By: Haley Draznin

The 2018 midterm elections are already historic when it comes to the number of women candidates running. A record 309 women have filed to run for seats in the US House, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. There are 29 women running for US Senate and 40 women running for governors races so far.

More and more women are putting themselves forward in the hope of increasing the number of women in legislatures and across government. EMILY's List, the political action committee that backs Democrats who support abortion rights, tells CNN they are actively involved in more than 70 races featuring women right now.

In a conversation with David Axelrod on “The Axe Files,” a podcast from The University of Chicago Institute of Politics and CNN, EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock says there is an “avalanche” of women running for office, it's nothing like she's ever seen before.”Avalanches are dangerous but what's so powerful about an avalanche is it gets bigger as it goes down. That is what's happening. It is getting bigger as we keep moving away, it's growing and growing every day,” Schriock tells Axelrod.

Candidate filing deadlines have passed in only half the states and more women are expected to enter the midterm races. The surge in female candidates comes as Democrats try to reclaim the House and Senate from Republicans in November.

“I said to Leader Pelosi, 'I would like Emily's List to help deliver the majority. We'd like to elect 23 women and pick up seats to give you the majority,” Schriock says.

Today, women make up less than 20% of Congress. Out of 535 total members, there are just 22 women senators and 83 women representatives.

“There's no reason why there isn't a woman in every race in the country period,” Schriock tells Axelrod, “There are, for the most part, men in every race, so there should be women.”

The majority of women running are Democrats, and it is in part driven by backlash to President Donald Trump and GOP policies in the Republican-controlled Congress. Democratic enthusiasm has spiked throughout the country as election victories, poll numbers and fundraising continue to point to a very engaged Democratic electorate.

“As I travel around the country and we see, particularly for EMILY's List, this wave of women who are coming into the political process. For us, it's women saying they want to run for office. But on the ground, it's women marching and organizing and pulling their communities together,” she says.

EMILY's List released numbers showing that 34,000 women interested in running for office have reached out to the organization since Election Day 2016, and they have trained more than 2,400 women in-person in 2017.

Schriock says these are women who are interested in changing the political landscape forever.

“We've got to save our democracy,” Schriock says, “I'm really excited about this moment because this isn't just about 2018. This is going to be the next decades of leadership in this country.”