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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 ErnstOvernight Defense: Pentagon details military construction projects getting .2B restored from wall funds | Biden chooses former commander to lead Navy | Bill seeks to boost visa program for Afghans who helped US Meghan McCain: Harris 'sounded like a moron' discussing immigration Senate bill would add visas, remove hurdles to program for Afghans who helped US MORE in Iowa, and Sara Gideon is facing Republican Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsSenate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office Pelosi says she's giving Senate more time on Jan. 6 commission Overnight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve 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 CapitoOvernight Health Care: Takeaways on the Supreme Court's Obamacare decision | COVID-19 cost 5.5 million years of American life | Biden administration investing billions in antiviral pills for COVID-19 COVID-19 long-haulers press Congress for paid family leave Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA's water office 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.