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Number of women governor nominees hits new high after New Hampshire primary
The number of women who have won major party nominations for governor hit a new high Tuesday when New Hampshire Democrats picked former state Sen. Molly Kelly (D) as their standard-bearer against Gov. Chris Sununu (R).
Kelly, who represented Keene in the state Senate for a decade, bested former Portsmouth Mayor Steve Marchand (D) in the Democratic primary.
With 17 percent of the precincts reporting, Kelly had taken 66 percent of the vote. The Associated Press called the race.
Kelly now faces an uphill general election fight against Sununu, who won renomination Tuesday without major opposition. Sununu begins the fall sprint with a cash advantage, though in an evenly divided state where Democrats hold both U.S. Senate seats and both U.S. House seats.
Sununu, the son of former Gov. John H. Sununu (R) and the brother of former Sen. John E. Sununu (R), won office in 2016, besting Democrat Colin Van Ostern by just 16,500 votes, or about 2 percentage points.
Kelly is now the 15th woman to secure a major party's nomination for governor. Democrats have nominated 11 women, and Republicans have nominated four.
Four women are running for reelection as incumbents, including Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R), Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D).
Sixty-one women filed to run for governor this year, nearly double the previous record of 34 women who ran in 1994, according to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University. This year's 15 nominees easily surpasses the 10 women who won party primaries, a number reached four times beginning in 1994.