Weekend Reading on Women's Representation September 14, 2018

By Cynthia Terrell on September 14, 2018

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Greetings!

According to this piece on Broadly:

White men form the minority of House Democratic nominees this cycle, giving way to a wave of women and people of color who outnumber them.

An analysis from Politico found that women in the Democratic Party have clinched 180 House nominations this cycle; at least 133 Democratic House nominees are people of color, and 158 are first-time candidates, there being some overlap among the three categories.

Women's success in their primary contests helps shore up the narrative of a wave of women running and winning that has dominated this election cycle, one which many expect will make 2018 another "Year of the Woman." According to Politico, Democratic women's 180 House nominations shatter their previous record of 120 House nominations.

Democratic women also hold the lion's share of the total House nominations won by women, which hit a historic 200 last month. At the time, Republican women—who typically run for office at rates far lower than their female counterparts across the aisle—had only clinched 45 nominations. They've since won seven more, but are still overshadowed by the landslide of Democratic women who will represent their party in November's general elections, leading the efforts on the left to retake the House.

“When you look at this large class of women candidates, it’s obvious, it’s no longer your average white guy in a red tie running,” John Lapp, a former consultant for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), told Politico. "These candidates look and sound different from what we know Congress to be right now, so they start with credibility of being outside of that."

But the story of marginalized groups' ascendancy in the Democratic Party isn't so simple—some women and people of color say they're generating enthusiasm around their campaigns from everyone but the party they hope to represent in office.

A major source of strife for first-time candidates has been the DCCC's Red to Blue list, a list of candidates national Democrats believe have the potential to flip their seats in November. Though the DCCC typically stays out of primaries, this year, the committee has been stepping into messy primary battles and, in some cases, backing middle-of-the-road establishment candidates over more progressive newcomers.

In an early case, the DCCC backed Brad Ashford, a Nebraska state legislator with an anti-choice record, over first-time candidate Kara Eastman, who was running a campaign advocating for Medicare for all, reproductive freedom, and tuition-free college. Despite being the clear pro-choice candidate in the primary race, at the time, she also lacked the support of big-name women's groups like EMILY's List and NARAL Pro-Choice.

"If we had the support of the DCCC, those groups would probably be more likely to support my campaign; I think that's a shame," Eastman told Newsweek in March. "I think there are people who are disappointed and tired of this establishment that seems to be supporting certain candidates over others. The district is craving someone who is a lifelong Democrat—someone who's running on a platform like I am."

In the end, Eastman was right: On her primary night in May, she edged out Ashford by just over 1,000 votes, making her the Democratic Party's nominee in Nebraska's 2nd congressional district.

Others weren't so lucky. Tanzie Youngblood and Tamara Harris, two black women running in New Jersey House districts against DCCC-backed opponents. Neither made it out of their primaries.

“I’ve been very loyal to this party, but I don’t feel the loyalty back,” Youngblood told Newsweek. “They don’t see the value in a candidate like me.”

Getting recognized by national Democrats can make or break a candidate's insurgent campaign, and black women especially are feeling that their candidacies have been unfairly sidelined. Last month, after Connecticut congressional candidate Jahana Hayes won her primary the DCCC added her to its Red to Blue list, making her the third black woman named to the list—out of 73 total candidates.

Hayes, and others who find themselves in a similar position, are trying not to let it get them down.

“People told me I had no chance and I had no business trying to do this,” Hayes said in her August victory speech. “We proved them wrong.”

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The Brookings Institution and Higher Heights collaborated on an interesting report about black women's electoral strength:

Fifty years after the election of Shirley Chisholm as the first African American woman to serve in Congress, black women are still making political history across the country. London Breed became the first black female mayor of San Francisco when she was sworn in to office in July 2018. This month, Ayanna Pressley won the Democratic primary, and it is expected that she will become the first woman of color elected to Congress from the commonwealth of Massachusetts, besting 10-term Democratic incumbent, Michael Capuano, with her 17-point victory. From their overwhelming impact in the 2017 Alabama special election for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to the increase of black women running and winning elections at the state and local levels, there is clearly a new wave of electoral momentum.

By analyzing the demographic variables associated with the elections of black women, we can examine circumstances potentially impacting electoral success. Those insights can be used to create a framework—a blueprint—that can help boost black women, and their supporters, to succeed in attaining more reflective representation in elected office at various levels of government.

The Brookings Institution and the Higher Heights Leadership Fund (hereafter Higher Heights) collaborated to create a database comprised of elected officials at the federal, state, and municipal levels, as well as aspirant candidates. Information regarding their districts was also collected and analyzed to pinpoint predictors of electoral success.

Based on the preliminary analysis, three major findings emerged that will be the basis of deeper exploration:

    1. The concentration of black residents in a district is positively correlated with black women’s electoral success through 2016, the basis of the dataset. Roughly two-thirds of black women have been elected in majority-black districts (>50 percent).
    2. Recent mayoral victories among 100 of the most populated cities and unsuspecting wins throughout various primaries this cycle show black women are viable in districts in which blacks are not the majority. Although a third of all black congresswomen and female state legislators were elected in minority-black districts, recent and past successes suggest black women are creating more and different routes to elected office.
    3. States with the highest percentages of black residents offer viable opportunities for black women to be elected statewide and in minority-black districts as over 500 majority-black constituencies picked a representative in 2016, yet only one-third of those seats were contested by black women.

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Ireland has already implemented gender quotas for use at the parliamentary level but there is a new push for targets for women, migrants, and minorities at the local level according to this piece in the Irish Examiner by Elaine Loughlin:

Political parties could be forced to fill 40% of their nominations with women, migrants, and people from ethnic minorities under a new local election quota system.

A Local Government Bill due to be published before the end of the year will set quotas to encourage more diversity in politics.

Around 12% of the population is now made up of migrants but just 31 non-Irish candidates ran in the last local elections in 2014, with three being elected.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland hopes that the number of migrant candidates will dramatically increase, with at least one non-Irish candidate contesting in every constituency in next year’s local elections.

Minister of state for local government and electoral reform, John Paul Phelan, is working on the bill ahead of the 2019 local elections. Under the new measures, political parties would lose out on funding if they fail to put forward candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Parties who meet the quotas would receive money to hire an equality and diversity officer who would promote and support more integration in politics.

Gender quotas have been introduced for general elections; however, there are currently no stipulations at local level.

While the Women’s Council of Ireland and other groups have been pushing for gender quotas at local political level, it is now understood that the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government wants to broaden these thresholds to include migrants and other minorities such as members of the Travelling Community.

Mr Phelan expects that quotas will be set somewhere between 30% and 40%.

“If you base it on 12% of the population [being from a migrant background] it should mean that in most of the Dublin wards you would be getting a migrant elected but because they are not a homogeneous group, it can be more difficult.”

He said: “We are unusual in that we give everyone a local election vote.”

Despite the fact that every ordinary resident in Ireland is allowed to vote, with no stipulation around how long a person must be here before that eligibility applies, many people do not know their voting rights.

Anyone who is ordinarily resident in Ireland can also stand for local election.

The Carlow-Kilkenny TD said: “The most important thing is registration and that people know that they are entitled to be on the register and to cast a vote as long as they are over 18; it’s a freedom that doesn’t exist in many countries.

“But then also it’s about getting people to put themselves forward, that’s a big jump, to go the whole hog and become a candidate, but in time I am sure we will see more candidates from migrant and minority backgrounds putting themselves forward,” he said.

The Immigrant Council of Ireland is also working with the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government on a multilingual information campaign.

Integration outreach officer with the Immigrant Council, Joe O’Brien, said: “We need people to start running, to diversify the ballot paper, to put some colour on the posters up on the poles. We are not going to bridge the gap in one election cycle, it is going to take a few.

“We need to test the waters and we are saying to people, try it out, we will give you guidance, don’t be disappointed if you don’t win, run a campaign that you can get something out of.”

Mr O’Brien added: “We need people to be groundbreakers, we need people to be role models in the community, we need people to make a stand on a particular issue. We are saying you can use the local election campaign as a way of raising issues, be they local or national.”

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The Fawcett Society reports after a century of women's suffrage men make up 97% of local government seats in the UK according to this story in the Business Times of London

[LONDON] Men outnumber women in 97 per cent of local governments in England, according to data released on Monday by a campaign group that said little progress had been made in the century since Britain granted women the vote.

Local council elections held in England in May made almost no difference to women's participation, with only one in three seats held by female councillors, the Fawcett Society said.

"This is really disappointing. We are literally crawling along," said the group's head, Sam Smethers. "As we mark the centenary of women's suffrage, women's representation across local government is stuck in the past."

Women head only 18 per cent of councils, which are responsible for the day-to-day provision of public services, the rights group found.

The May elections brought the share of female councillors to 34 per cent - up less than one percentage point on 2017. 

Britain granted women aged over 30 who met a property qualification the right to vote in 1918, the same year female candidates were allowed to run for parliament. They had been able to contest local elections since 1907.

The rights group said women still faced barriers to election, such as the lack of adequate maternity and childcare policies.

"Progress must be made at a faster pace to ensure a greater representation of women in our local authorities," said Marianne Overton, vice chairwoman of The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents local authorities.

"It is vital that local government better reflects the communities we represent," Ms Overton said in a statement.

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Governing Magazine had a great wrap up of gubernatorial races in 2018 - just over half are competitive:

As the primary season came to a close, more gubernatorial races became competitive, and the Democrats remain in a better position than Republicans to gain ground this fall.

In our latest handicapping of the nation's 36 races for governor, we're shifting the ratings for 10 of them: six in the Democrats' direction and four in the Republicans'.

The six seats moving in Democrats' favor are in Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. And the four seats shift toward the GOP are in Alaska, Maine, Oregon and Rhode Island.

The Republicans have more seats at risk. The GOP currently holds 13 of these 19 competitive seats, compared to just five for the Democrats and one by independent Alaska Gov. Bill Walker.Currently, we rate 19 races -- more than half -- as being competitive, meaning that they are either tossups or leaning to one party or the other. That's up from 16 competitive races in our July analysis. Our rating categories are safe Republican, likely Republican, lean Republican, tossup, lean Democratic, likely Democratic and safe Democratic.

Of those 19 competitive seats, nine are tossups, which is one more than in July. The tossup category is dominated by states with Republican governors; they hold six of those seats (Florida, Iowa, Maine, Nevada, Ohio and Wisconsin) compared to just three by the Democrats (Colorado, Connecticut and Rhode Island).

Three GOP-held seats currently lean Democratic -- Illinois, Michigan and New Mexico. By contrast, no Democratic-held seat leans Republican.

Overall, the GOP today holds a 33-16 edge in gubernatorial offices and has more seats to defend this year -- 26 to the Democrats' nine.

In a neutral political environment, Democrats should be able to gain perhaps three governorships. But if the political winds prove to be in the Democrats' favor, their net gain could be as high as five to seven seats. For the first time since 2006, the GOP will control the White House and Congress during a midterm election -- a balance of power that historically helps the party not in office.

Shifts Toward Republicans

We are shifting two states from lean Democratic to tossup: Maine and Rhode Island.

In Maine, where Republican Gov. Paul LePage is leaving office, the general election field includes a Democrat, Attorney General Janet Mills; a Republican, businessman Shawn Moody; and two significant independents, policy researcher Alan Caron and state Treasurer Terry Hayes. This complicates the math for Mills, who might otherwise benefit from pro-Democratic momentum after eight years of LePage's outspoken approach to governance. Both independent candidates are considered somewhat to the left of center and therefore are expected to take votes from her.

An August poll by Suffolk University had Mills and Moody each taking 39 percent, Caron and Hayes combining for 7 percent and about 15 percent undecided. (While Maine has adopted ranked-choice voting for federal races this fall, it will not be offered in the gubernatorial race.)

Meanwhile, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, prevailed against a primary challenge from the left by former Secretary of State Matt Brown. She now faces a rematch against Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, with several third-party candidates also in the race, including former Trump campaign state chair Joe Trillo. Polling has shown that the Raimondo-Fung matchup is close.

We've also moved Alaska from tossup to lean Republican. Here, too, a three-way race poses complications for the incumbent.

Walker, an independent, won office in 2014 after he joined forces with a Democratic running mate and defeated then-Republican Gov. Sean Parnell. Now, though, Walker's approval ratings have sunk, and a credible Democrat -- former U.S. Sen. Mark Begich -- is in the race.

In the GOP primary, voters selected Mike Dunleavy, a well-funded education administrator and former state legislator who is considered conservative enough to energize Republican voters. With Alaska's non-conservative vote poised to be divided between Walker and Begich, Dunleavy has an easier path to victory.

And finally, in Oregon, we've moved Democratic Gov. Kate Brown's reelection bid from likely Democratic to lean Democratic, based on a recent poll showing the race close between Brown and Republican Knute Buehler, who's considered a stronger-than-usual Oregon Republican candidate.

That said, we're not convinced this will remain a competitive seat, considering the edge Democrats have in this solidly blue state and the pro-Democrat environment nationally.

Shifts Toward Democrats

Probably the most significant shift in the Democrats' favor is happening in Michigan and Wisconsin, which, respectively, we're moving from tossup to lean Democratic and from lean Republican to tossup.

For Democrats, few things would be sweeter than defeating Republican Scott Walker. In the primary, Democrats gave state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers a convincing victory, allowing him to turn his attention to Walker, who's seeking a third term in a more difficult national environment than he's faced previously. Every poll in July and August has Evers either even or ahead.

In Michigan, Democratic nominee Gretchen Whitmer has consistently led Republican Bill Schuette in recent polls by a high single digits or more. The winner would succeed retiring Republican Rick Snyder, who became closely associated with the Flint water crisis.

We're also shifting two states from likely Republican to lean Republican -- Georgia and Oklahoma. While these races are looking competitive, each of them remains a difficult lift for Democrats, given the historically red hue of those states.

In Georgia's open-seat contest, primary voters tapped Democrat Stacey Abrams to face off against Republican Brian Kemp, rejecting more moderate rivals and producing a general election matchup with a sharp ideological contrast. While history suggests that Republicans will remain the favorite, Abrams' history-making nomination as an African-American woman has attracted national attention and could energize minority voters in greater numbers than before.

And in Oklahoma, businessman Kevin Stitt won the Republican runoff and will face former state Attorney General Drew Edmondson, the Democrat. Stitt is a relative unknown and is polling about even with Edmondson, who is a more familiar name. But with lots of undecided voters, Stitt has room to grow.

The election could hinge on whether dissatisfaction with outgoing Republican Gov. Mary Fallin -- who recently polled at an anemic 19 percent approval -- convinces enough Republicans and independents to take a chance with a Democrat. We'd be surprised if Stitt doesn't win, but it's not off the table.

We're also moving the Minnesota open-seat race from tossup to lean Democratic. After competitive primary contests on both sides, Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Walz is leading his Republican opponent, Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson, by single-digit margins in recent polls.

And last, in South Dakota's open-seat race, we're shifting it from safe Republican to likely Republican. One poll by a Democratic firm had Democratic state Sen. Billie Sutton trailing Republican U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem by just four points. But the state hasn't elected a Democratic governor since 1974, so don't hold your breath.

My knowledgeable husband Rob Richie summed up the chances for women:

* Of 6 incumbents, two are term limited (NM and OK). So down to four, who are all up for election. Only one (Alabama's Kay Ivey, a Republican) is seen as safe, with toss ups for Republican Kim Reynolds in Iowa and Democrat Raimondo in Rhode Island and a lean advantage for Democrat Kate Brown in Oregon. Seems a good bet that only two or three incumbents will win in November.
 
* Of chances for women, to win, best chances are, in rough order here, with the odds are that women at most win four of these races.
 
* Grisham (D) in New Mexico - leans her way and would be one of those rarities of a woman succeeding a woman
* Noem (R) in South Dakota - leans her way
* Whitmer (D) in Michigan - leans her way
* Mills (D) in Maine - tossup
* Abrams (D) in Georgia - leans away toward Republican
* Kelly(D) in Kansas- leans away toward Republican
 
There are longshot Democratic women nominees in Idaho, New Hampshire, Texas ,Vermont and Wyoming and long shot Republican nominee in Hawaii.
 
So... bottom line is that when the dust settles, likely that at most eight women governors next year, and a worst case scenario of three or four So the "year of the woman" still isn't hitting executive power, although a step up to have 16 women nominated by a major party.
 
Check out the Center for American Women and Politics press release for a look at the number of women who have won primaries and are advancing to the general election in November:
Women Made History in the 2018 Congressional Primaries
 
The 2018 primaries for federal office drew to a close this week, with women candidates setting
records and breaking barriers throughout the country. The Center for American Women and
Politics (CAWP), a division of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University, has tracked
these successes throughout the primary season.
 
"We are certainly on track to see a record number of women in the 116th Congress," says CAWP Director Debbie Walsh, "but achieving gender parity in Congress will take more than one election cycle."
 
Here's a summary of women's congressional primary successes, with primary results from
Louisiana to be determined on November 6th.
 
U.S. House
• 234 women (182D, 52R) have won House nominations, up from the record of 167 (120D,
47R) set in 2016.
• Democrats have nominated 182 women for the House this year, surpassing their previous
record of 120, set in 2016.
• Republicans, with 52 nominations of women, fell short of their 2004 record of 53 by a
single nomination.
• Women make up 28.6% of all major-party nominees, 42.6% of Democratic nominees, and
13.3% of Republican nominees.
• 34.2% of all women nominees for the U.S. House are women of color, including 35.7% of
Democratic and 28.8% of Republican women nominees.
 
U.S. Senate
• 22 women (15D, 7R) won Senate primaries this year, beating 2012's record of 18 (12D,
6R). Incumbent Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) will compete for the MS Senate
special election nomination on November 6th.
• Democrats nominated 15 women in Senate races this year, outpacing their previous record
of 12, first set in 2012.
• Republicans nominated 7 women for Senate this year, topping their 2012 record of 6.
• Women make up 32.4% of all major-party nominees, 42.9% of Democratic nominees, and
21.9% of Republican nominees.
• Incumbent Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) is the only woman of color nominee for the U.S.
Senate this year.
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And finally, a number of women won key races in the New York primary that was held yesterday among them was Tish James who is featured in this story - she is the first black woman to win a statewide major party nomination in New York state:

Letitia James became the first black woman to win a major party statewide nomination on Thursday, easily defeating three rivals in New York’s Democratic primary for attorney general.

With her win, Ms. James, 59, the New York City public advocate, has positioned herself as a prominent face of resistance to the policies of President Trump, a role that the New York attorney general’s office has embraced since Mr. Trump took office.

“This campaign was never really about me or any of the candidates who ran,” Ms. James said in her victory speech. “It was about the people, but mostly it was about that man in the White House who can’t go a day without threatening our fundamental rights.”

With Democrats outnumbering Republicans in New York State by a margin of more than two to one, Ms. James will be heavily favored in November against the Republican candidate, Keith Wofford, 49, who ran unopposed. If Ms. James wins, she would be the first black woman to assume statewide office, just five years after becoming the first black woman elected to citywide office in New York.

Hope to see some of you at the CouragetoRun5K on Sunday!

Cynthia

P.S. Just in case you missed this reminder in last week's missive, projected wins for women in House races this fall will likely put the US somewhere in the 70s for women's representation among all nations - in 1998, the US ranked 60th...let's be sure to appreciate and digest the impressive work being done in other countries to elect more women to office - faster.

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