Herstorical Woman v. Woman Races: Gubernatorial Level

BLFF Team | Aug 16, 2022


Currently, there are five confirmed woman v. woman gubernatorial races in November this midterm election cycle— a record for the most in one election season. The states with women v. women gubernatorial races in 2022: Arizona, Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, and Oregon; and, there could be more depending on the outcome of the remaining primaries.

Previously, there have only been four total “herstorical” woman v. woman gubernatorial races in American history, most recently in 2010. Find out more about them below:



Nebraska: Kay Orr (R) vs. Helen Boosalis (D)

Kay Orr vs. Helen Boosalis in the 1986 election for governor of Nebraska was the first woman v. woman gubernatorial race in the country. Previously, Orr was Nebraska state treasurer and the only woman to hold a statewide office there. Boosalis’s career included roles on the Lincoln City Council, as mayor of Lincoln, and as Director of the Nebraska Department of Aging. Orr defeated Boosalis, becoming the first woman governor of Nebraska and the first Republican woman to be elected governor in the U.S. Orr remains the only woman governor of Nebraska.



Hawaii: Linda Lingle (R) vs Mazie Hirono (D)

Linda Lingle, former mayor of Maui, became Hawaii’s first woman governor and first Republican governor of the state after defeating Mazie Hirono, a former member of the Hawaii House of Representatives and lieutenant governor of the state, in the 2002 election. Lingle originally ran for governor in 1998 and lost to then-incumbent Governor Benjamin J. Cayetano.

In the 2012 election for Senate, former Governor Lingle and Mazie Hirono faced each other again and Mazie Hirono won, becoming the state’s first woman senator. Hirono was also the first Asian-born immigrant to be elected to the U.S. Senate.



New Mexico: Susanna Martinez (R) vs Diane Denish (D)

Susanna Martinez became the first woman governor of New Mexico and the nation’s first Latina governor when she defeated Diane Denish in the 2010 election. At the time, Denish was a two-term lieutenant governor and Martinez was the District Attorney for Doña Ana County, New Mexico.



Oklahoma: Mary Fallin (R) vs Jari Askins (D)

Former U.S. Representative Mary Fallin became Oklahoma’s first woman governor in 2010. Fallin defeated Democrat Jari Askins, who was the lieutenant governor at the time. Fallin was reelected in 2014, and remains the only woman elected governor of Oklahoma.








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