This past Tuesday was a significant day for women who are campaigning to serve in Congress with 24 women running for Congress across primary elections held in Idaho, Nebraska, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. Notably, both of Pennsylvania’s senators and each of its 18 House members are male, but after Tuesday's results that's likely to change after three Democratic women won their primaries in districts that Hillary Clinton won by big margins and a fourth woman is running in a district Clinton won by 1 point for an open seat. The delegation is also likely to become more reflective of voter preferences following the redistricting mandated earlier this year, where in 2016 Republicans won 54% of all congressional ballots cast, but due to gerrymandering claimed 13 of the state’s 18 House seats.
In the 4th District, State House Member Madeleine Dean will face Republican businessman Dan David in November. The open seat is considered a safe one for Democrats, which Clinton would have carried by about 20 points over Trump if the district had existed in 2016.
Moving over to the 5th District, lawyer and school board member Mary Gay Scanlon will face off against another woman, Republican attorney Pearl Kim. However, this open seat is also considered safe for Democrats, which Clinton would have carried by over 28 points if the district had existed at that time.
And in the new 6th District, Air Force Engineer and CEO Chrissy Houlahan will face off against Republican Greg McCauley. This seat is a bit more competitive since Clinton would have carried this seat by only 10 points if the district has existed during the presidential election.
Lastly, there is the 7th District where attorney Susan Wild faces the toughest race out of the four women since Clinton would have won this district by only 1 point in 2016. But there is no incumbent she is facing and instead will face Olympic cycling champion and County Board Commissioner Marty Nothstein in November. If Democrats have any hopes of taking back the House from the GOP, these four seats are near must wins.
These are not the only four women who won primaries in Pennsylvania, Democratic women will also be running against Republicans in the 11th, 14th, and 15th Districts; however, two of these seats are against incumbent Republicans and feature a much tougher voter demographic for a Democratic candidate to prevail.
Many are calling these midterms the ”Year of the Woman,” not only due to the #MeToo movement, but also because a record 309 women, Republicans and Democrats, have filed to run for the House of Representatives, beating the previous record set in 2012 of 298. The last election that was deemed the Year of the Woman was the 1992 election when Congress nearly doubled the amount of women holding seats from 33 to 55, which was the largest group of women ever elected to Congress in one election. That year 157 women ran for Congress. With nearly double that amount running for Congress this year, it is likely that record will be broken come November.
Next Tuesday voters in Arkansas, Georgia, and Kentucky go to the polls for their primary election along with Texas who is having a runoff election for those candidates who did not get 50% of the vote back on the March 6th primary.
Once again most of the action is on the Democratic primary side. In Georgia, there are competitive Democratic races in seats currently held by Republican Representatives Karen Handel and Rob Woodall and in Kentucky the marquee matchup is Mayor Jim Gray versus Iraq War Veteran Amy McGrath in the Democratic primary. They are both vying for the chance to take on incumbent Andy Barr.
The story is different in Texas where six races on the Republican side still need to be decided and 11 races need to be decided on the Democratic side. Many races on the Democratic side feature candidates from both sides of the party spectrum, pitting single payer proponents versus candidates who want to keep the current system and improve the ACA.
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