Nine women who could be elected president

Greg Nash

Hillary Clinton’s surprise defeat dealt a blow to hopes that the United States would elect a woman as president.

Yet there are plenty of other women in both parties who could be future candidates.

Here’s a look at nine.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

It’s early, but Warren is seen by most political observers as the odds-on favorite to be the next Democratic presidential nominee, regardless of gender — if she runs.


“She’s clearly the frontrunner among women — and she might be the frontrunner, period,” said Democratic strategist Brad Bannon. “She could knock off Trump in 2020.”

Warren’s message of economic populism fires up the same voters who supported Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in this year’s primary.

But she is “less threatening” to establishment Democrats, who would “feel more comfortable with her than they were with Bernie,” Bannon said.

She also has less baggage than Clinton, he argued.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

Haley might be the Republican woman with the best shot of becoming president, though her chances could hinge on how President-elect Donald Trump does in the White House.

Haley became the first female governor in South Carolina history in 2011. She was thrust into the national spotlight after a white supremacist shot and killed nine people at a historically African-American church last year in Charleston.

Haley ended up getting the Confederate flag removed from the state capitol grounds.

“Nikki Haley has done a very distinguished job in South Carolina,” said Jane Campbell, president of Women Impacting Public Policy. “The whole nation saw her leadership after that young man came into the church and shot people. She came right out and said we’re not going to have the Confederate flag. She took hold of the situation.”

Haley, who gave the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union address in January, has been nominated by Trump to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa)

This rising Republican star is a Tea Party favorite who was floated as a possible running mate for Trump.

After 23 years in the military, Ernst retired from the Iowa Army National Guard in 2015.

The Iowa Senator was deployed in Kuwait during the Iraq War, making her the first female combat veteran to be elected to the upper chamber. Her military experience bodes well in Republican circles. 

“She’s a conservative firebrand who will appeal to the Republican base,” said Bannon, “and she’s from Iowa.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

Clinton, a former New York senator, won the popular vote as the first female presidential nominee of a major party.  

Some think that could pave the way for fellow New York senator Gillibrand to run.

“Sen. Gillibrand is focused on her job in the U.S. Senate and plans on running for re-election in 2018,” spokesman Marc Brumer said in a statement to The Hill.

Sen-elect Kamala Harris (Calif.)

This rising Democratic star reminds many of a young President Obama. 

In the Golden State, Harris became the first woman, African American, and Asian American to serve as attorney general in 2011. Her favorability is peaking as she heads to Washington. 

Just as Gilibrand’s base in New York gives her access to big Democratic donors, Harris is well-connected to sources of campaign money on the West Coast. 

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)

Klobuchar has long been seen as a possible Democratic candidate for president.

The first woman to be elected as a senator from Minnesota, Klobuchar’s biggest challenge might be the fact that she’s not a household name.

Klobuchar’s name was tossed around as a possible replacement for retiring Attorney General Eric Holder, but ultimately President Obama selected Loretta Lynch in November 2014 to lead the Department of Justice.

New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez (R)

Martinez is the first Hispanic female governor in the United States, and has garnered so much respect in GOP circles that she was elected the chairwoman of the Republican Governors Association.

“That executive leadership well prepares her for the presidency,” said Campbell.

Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of State

Rice was the first African American female to lead the State Department, a position she held during the George W. Bush administration.

A Republican, Rice called on Trump to drop his White House bid after the infamous video of the president-elect talking lewdly about women was leaked. “Enough! Donald Trump should not be president,” she posted on Facebook. “He should withdraw.”

Rice was also a member of the National Security Council under President George H. W. Bush.

First lady Michelle Obama 

The first lady has insisted on several occasions that she has no interest in a political career, even one that would involve a bid for the Oval Office.

That hasn’t completely stopped chatter about Obama, who is perhaps the most popular political figure in the country.

During an interview this week with Oprah Winfrey, the first lady reiterated that she had no secret ambition to one day run for president: “No, I don’t make stuff up,” she said. “I’m not coy. If I were interested in it, I would say it. I don’t believe in playing games. It’s not something I would do.”

Tags Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Elizabeth Warren Eric Holder Hillary Clinton Kirsten Gillibrand Michelle Obama
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