Recruitment Efforts Rise, and we see them paying off in the South

Zandria Haines | Dec 23, 2019


The American South, a bastion for tradition, delicious cooking, is a metonymy for American heritage, and a place where many people often look to return home–or to leave in search of opportunity.  It is also a place for progress, and the number of women primarying popular male candidates and challenging incumbents show that women everywhere are looking for a more equitable future. 

More than 400 women across the country are vying for Congressional seats, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Organizations recruiting women candidates, like Emerge America (Emerge) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), have stimulated the rise of women running in the South. Emerge has affiliates in ten southern states, and has trained over 4,000 Democratic women to run for office. NRCC spoke to 157 women interested in running in 2020. 42 have filed for candidacy. Many of these candidates are in the South, and from both sides of the aisle. 

North Carolina

The 2nd Congressional District In North Carolina has recently been redrawn and is now more democratic. Two women are running in the primary, Monika Johnson-Hostler and Deborah Ross

On the Senate side, Erica Smith is running for Senate in North Carolina, against Thom Tillis. Erica is the first Black woman to run for Senate in the state of North Carolina, and if she wins, she’ll be the country’s third Black woman senator, after Kamala Harris and Carol Moseley Braun.


 Currently, there are five women running for Senate in Texas, for the seat occupied by John Cornyn since 2002. They are Amanda Edwards, Mary Jennings Hegar, Annie Garcia, Sema Hernandez, and Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez

On the Congressional side, thirty women are running in the Republican primaries, and 26 women are primarying for the Democrats. They include women like Nyzana Moore and Candice Valenzuela who are running for open seats, Adrienne Bell, running in the 14th Congressional District, and Wendy Davis in the 21st Congressional District, who famously stood for 13 hours in a fillibuster in 2013.


The 2nd Congressional District has never had Black representation. Enter Danyell Lanier. Danyell Lanier is a Post Gulf war veteran who formerly ran for Colin County Judge in 2018. 


In Alabama, Jessica Taylor is entering the Alabama Congressional Primary in District 2, where U.S. Rep. Martha Roby will be retiring. Jessica is a millennial, and she hopes to bring a young voice to the Republican party. Ruth Page Nelson, a community activist, is challenging incumbent, Sen. Doug Jones. 

The amount of  women running for office, especially those running in the same race, shows us that women can have political diversity, represent their own communities, and share their unique story. In 2018, we saw a huge surge of women running—and winning seats across the country. 2020 will be no different. Let’s keep the momentum going.

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