Ready to Make History: Women Candidates on the 2020 Ballot

Voting for the 2020 general election ends today, and the results could make history up and down the ballot:

  • Kamala Harris has already blazed a new trail as the Vice Presidential nominee for the Democratic Party. Senator Harris is the first woman of color, and only the third woman ever, to be selected as the VP candidate for a major political party. We know based on our research that she has faced different and higher standards as a Black woman running for office. Over the course of the last few months, we have seen her run as a 360-degree candidate who brought authenticity and the whole of her lived experience on the campaign trail. If this election ends in a win for the Biden/Harris ticket, her Vice Presidency would be unprecedented.
  • It’s not just the top of the ticket that’s poised to make history: a record number of women ran for Congress this year, and specifically a record number of women of color (at least 115) ran according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. According to CAWP, “U.S. House nominations are at a record high for Black (61), Latina (32), and Native American (6) women in 2020.” Our research has shown that voters believe women of color from either political party are just as electable as a man when tested on a hypothetical ballot.
  • There are also more women running against other women for Congress than ever before. Fifty-one Congressional races (47 in the House and four in the Senate) are woman vs. woman. The previous record was 33 from 2018.
  • Many women candidates, including Cori Bush in Missouri, MJ Hegar in Texas, and Young Kim in California, are running for office after an electoral loss. Our research shows that a loss does not have to be the end of a woman’s political career, and voters often think women who have lost are still qualified and likeable (two must-haves for women candidates).

We are continuing to watch for the women candidates on this year’s ballot who will break barriers if elected. They include:

  • Barbara Bollier in Kansas, who would be the first woman physician in the Senate
  • Merav Ben-David and Cynthia Lummis, who are running to represent Wyoming in the Senate; either will be the state’s first woman Senator
  • Candace Valenzuela of Texas, who would be the first Afro-Latina in Congress
  • Jackie Gordon of New York, who would be the first Jamaican-born person to serve in Congress
  • Gina Ortiz Jones of Texas, who would be the first Filipina-American in the House. She would also be the first openly LGBTQ person, and Iraq War veteran woman to represent her state in Congress

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