Women Made History Up and Down the Ballot in Statewide Midterm Elections

BLFF Team | Dec 6, 2022


The 2022 midterm elections were historic for women in politics—from mayors to lieutenant governors, and more. At the state executive level, 12 women were elected governor, setting a new record for the number of women governors serving concurrently. Arkansas, Massachusetts, and New York elected women governors for the first time, and Arkansas and Massachusetts also elected female lieutenant governors—bringing two women to top statewide seats for the first time ever in our country’s history.

Not only did women make history at the state executive level, but also for positions that are down the ballot. Here are a few:


Karen Bass (D)  Mayor-elect – Los Angeles, California

First woman and first woman of color elected mayor of Los Angeles – November 2022

Karen Bass is an American politician and social worker. On December 12, 2022, Bass will become the Mayor of Los Angeles, the first Black woman to serve in this position.

Mayor-elect Bass began her political career by volunteering for Robert F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Bass then went on to receive her bachelor’s degree from California State University, Dominguez Hills and her MSW from University of Southern California. Bass was elected to the California State Assembly representing the 47th district in 2004 and was the Speaker of the California State Assembly from 2008 to 2010.

Bass first announced her candidacy for Mayor of Los Angeles on September 27th, 2021, facing businessman Rick Caruso. On November 16th, Bass was declared mayor-elect of the city.


Cindy Byrd (R)  State Auditor – Oklahoma

First woman elected State Auditor in Oklahoma, – November 2018

Oklahoma State Auditor Cindy Byrd is an American accountant and politician.

State Auditor Byrd received her bachelor’s degree from East Central University and became a certified public accountant in 2003 after she began working for the Oklahoma State Auditor’s office.

In 2013, Byrd was promoted to Deputy State Auditor. In 2018, she launched her campaign for Oklahoma State Auditor. State Auditor Byrd defeated Libertarian candidate John Yeutter in the general election, becoming the first woman in Oklahoma’s history to hold the office and receiving the most votes for a state official.

In the 2022 midterms, State Auditor Byrd was challenged in the Republican primary by Steven McQuillen. She defeated McQuillen in the primary election, and since no other parties put up candidates for the position, State Auditor Byrd was reelected for a second term in June.


Andrea Campbell (D)  Attorney General-elect – Massachusetts

First Black woman elected to statewide office in Massachusetts – November 2022

Andrea Campbell is a lawyer, politician, and former member of the Boston City Council.

Campbell received her bachelor’s from Princeton University and her juris doctor from UCLA School of Law. Campbell began her career by providing free legal services for a nonprofit in Roxbury, MA, and worked as deputy legal counsel for Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.

Campbell was first elected to Boston City Council in 2015, and subsequently reelected in 2017 and 2019. Campbell was also elected council president in 2018, becoming the first Black woman to hold the position.

Campbell ran against Republican Jay McMahon for Attorney General of Massachusetts in this year’s midterm elections and won. Upon Campbell’s swearing in in January 2023, she will become the first Black woman to hold a state executive position in Massachusetts.


Charity Clark (D), Attorney General-elect – Vermont

First woman elected Attorney General of Vermont – November 2022

Charity Clark is a former Assistant Attorney General and former policy analyst at the Vermont Governor’s Office. She grew up in southern Vermont and her family have historically been small-town grocers.

Clark started her legal career at a firm in Burlington, Vermont, and worked at Orrick in New York City. She also helped to found the Junior League of Champlain Valley’s Diaper Bank, which has distributed over a million diapers to Vermont families.

Clark faced Republican Mike Tagliavia in the 2022 election, and won by a 61% to 33% vote.


Eleni Kounalakis (D)  Incumbent Lieutenant Governor – California

First woman elected Lt. Governor of California – November 2018

Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis is a politician, businesswoman and former diplomat. She is currently the 50th Lieutenant Governor of California, the first woman elected to the position.

Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis received her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and her MBA from Berkeley. She served as a delegate to the Democratic National Committee four times, and as an at-large member of the California State Democratic Central Committee

Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis defeated Republican opponent Angela Underwood in the 2022 midterms. She will begin her second term in 2023.


Aruna Miller (D)  Lieutenant Governor-elect – Maryland

First South Asian American woman elected Lieutenant Governor in the US, and first immigrant Lieutenant Governor – November 2022

Aruna Miller served as a Maryland state legislator prior to running for Lieutenant Governor of Maryland. Miller made history this election along with Governor-elect Wes Moore (who will be Maryland’s first ever Black governor). They won election over Dan Cox (candidate for governor) and Gordana Schifanelli (candidate for Lt. Governor)

Miller’s family emigrated to the United States from India when she was 7 years old. She holds a degree in civil engineering from the Missouri University of Science and Technology, and she worked at the Montgomery County Department of Transportation for 25 years.

Jeanette Nuñez (R)   Incumbent Lieutenant Governor – Florida

First Latina elected Lieutenant Governor of Florida – November 2018

Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez is a former member of the Florida House of Representatives and former Speaker Pro Tempore.

Lieutenant Governor Nuñez worked in healthcare earlier in her career, as the State Director for Government Relations in the Jackson Health Systems, and as Vice President of Community Affairs for Hospital Corporation of America.

She and Governor Ron DeSantis won the Florida 2018 gubernatorial election and were sworn in on January 8th, 2019. This year, she received almost 58% of the vote against Karla Hernandez to win reelection.


Leslie Rutledge (R)  Lieutenant Governor-elect – Arkansas.

First woman elected Lieutenant Governor of Arkansas – November 2022

Leslie Rutledge is currently the Attorney General of Arkansas—the first woman and first Republican to hold the Attorney General office in her state. Rutledge was elected Lieutenant Governor this year, along with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who won the governorship.

Rutledge is a seventh-generation Arkansan, and she has spent her career in public service. Prior to serving in public office, she was a prosecutor focused on “administrative law, state and local government, and election law.” She also served as Deputy Counsel in the office of Governor Mike Huckabee, as Deputy Counsel at the National Republican Congressional Committee, and as Counsel for the Republican National Committee.

As Attorney General, Rutledge’s priorities have included “educating Arkansans on consumer protection, internet safety, and dating violence; leading efforts to combat the opioid epidemic; supporting military and veteran families, and making the office a top law firm in the state.”


Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter to keep track of all things gender and politics.

[gravityform id="2" title="false" description="false"]

Join the Conversation