Analysis finds record high number of woman versus woman congressional races

Analysis finds record high number of woman versus woman congressional races
© Bonnie Cash

A record number of congressional races will be between two women candidates in November, according to data compiled by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.  

The data lists 38 all-women congressional races, building on the record of 33 all-women races set in the 2018 midterms.

Three of the 38 races are between senatorial candidates, including tight races in Maine and Iowa. Democrat Theresa Greenfield is facing Republican Sen. Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstThe Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Liberal super PAC launches ads targeting vulnerable GOP senators over SCOTUS fight Romney backs pre-election Supreme Court vote, paving way for McConnell, Trump MORE in Iowa, and Sara Gideon is facing Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate GOP aims to confirm Trump court pick by Oct. 29: report The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Senate GOP sees early Supreme Court vote as political booster shot MORE in Maine. Both races are rated a “toss up” by the Cook Political Report. 

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The third senatorial race between two women candidates is in West Virginia, where Democrat Paula Jean Swearengin faces a tough challenge against incumbent Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoCongress must finish work on popular conservation bill before time runs out Second GOP senator to quarantine after exposure to coronavirus GOP senator to quarantine after coronavirus exposure MORE (R-W.V.). 

The other congressional races between women candidates are in California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. 

“When we began tracking women candidates, having even one woman in a congressional or gubernatorial race was rare,” Center for American Women and Politics Director Debbie Walsh told NBC News. “General election contests with two women competing for a seat show just how much progress has been made."

But she noted that there is still a ways to go in terms of representation in Congress. 

"I look forward to the day when a woman vs. woman race is as commonplace as when two men run against each other," she added.

Women are still vastly outnumbered by men in Congress. In 2020, 101 women hold seats in the House, making up 23.2 percent of the 435 members. In the Senate, 26 women are serving, making up 26 percent of the 100 seats. 

In both chambers, Democratic women outnumber Republicans. There are 88 Democratic women and 13 Republican women in the House, and 17 Democratic women and 9 Republican women in the Senate.