Women Are Running for Office—And Funding Democrats—Like Never Before

October 23, 2018

Mother Jones: Women Are Running for Office—And Funding Democrats—Like Never Before

By Kara Voght and Dave Gilson

“The women are in my grill no matter where I go,” Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) groused in early 2017 as he was dogged by some of the many grassroots activists spurred to action by the election of President Donald Trump. Since then, the women-led “resistance” has fueled a wave of Democratic candidates and sparked hope that female voters will stop Trump in his tracks. 

See Jane Run
1992 was declared the “Year of the Woman” after 24 women won House seats for the first time and four new women joined the Senate. In 2018, there has been a surge in women running for Congress. Three-fourths of them are Democrats, and 68 percent are challengers or running for open seats.

Ladies’ Firsts
2018 has been the biggest year for women winning primaries in House, Senate, gubernatorial, and state legislature races.

Women are…

  • 20% of current members of Congress
  • 24% of this year’s major-party candidates for Congress
  • 14% of Republican candidates for Congress
  • 33% of Democratic candidates 

Women may lead 35 congressional committees and subcommittees if Democrats win the House.

Mad Money
Women’s campaign donations to congressional candidates have exceeded the previous high set in 2016. While men’s donations are evenly split between parties, women’s gifts are breaking toward Democrats in a big way.

Blue Streak

In 2018, more than 42,000 women contacted Emily’s List about running as pro-choice Democrats. In 2016, that number was 920.

25% of all state legislators are women. Of those, 61% are Democrats. 70% of the more than 2,800 women running for statehouses are Democrats.

All the President’s Men
Trump can blame women for his historic unpopularity. As of mid-October, his approval rating was less than 50 percent with almost every subgroup of women.

Pump and Dump Trump

Women with campaign ads in 2018 in which they breastfed their babies: 2

Nevertheless, She Resisted

  • 79% of Democrats say there are too few women in high political office. 33% of Republicans do.
  • 39% of Republican women say they have recently participated in election-related activism.
  • 49% of Democratic women say they have.
  • About 70% of the members and leaders of grassroots “resistance” groups like Indivisible are women.
  • Women candidates had a 10-point advantage over men in open Democratic primaries in 2018.

Reality Check
Nearly half of female Democratic House candidates are challenging incumbents. 97% of House incumbents were reelected in 2016.