Wednesday, August 1, 2012

From Center for American Women & Politics

The 2012 Project: Educate. Inspire. Connect.
We're Watching

Watching what? The progress of women candidates for state legislatures.

Already, 1,078 women have won their primaries in 23 states, an historic high. In 2006, the record-setting year for women elected to state legislatures, there were 1,009 nominees in those same states. In 2010, the year with the most women nominees overall, there were 1,039 at this point in the election for the 23 states.  


By the time the last state legislative primary ends on September 13 in New York, we hope to see a record number of women candidates.

But 2012 - a year of extraordinary opportunity for women seeking office, as we've noted all along - is unpredictable for several reasons. Consider this:
  • New legislative districts post-reapportionment have altered the playing field around the country. In some places, longtime women incumbents were forced out by redistricting. In others, conditions are more favorable than before - and, with the help of The 2012 Project, women have stepped up to run for new and open seats.
  • Since 1994, 15 states have been phasing in state legislative term limits; this year, for the first time, all of those states will feel the impact. A total of 255 incumbents (including 62 women) must retire - but their departures create new open seats.
  • A presidential election on the ballot brings out even infrequent voters; larger turnouts alter the political math.
This year, 44 states have legislative elections. With just over half of their primaries completed, 306 women have won nominations for open seats - the most winnable spots for newcomers. The all-time record number of women candidates for open seats was 769 in 1992 - like this year, a post-census presidential election year, and a record-setter for women in many ways. Can we match or beat that historic year? We'll be watching.

To keep up, check out our  2012 Women's Election Tracker, where you'll find links to the 113 U.S. House candidates who have already won their primaries. As each state's results are certified, you can click through to find links to primary winners for state legislative seats as well.

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