Record number of women candidates running for state and federal office in 2022 midterms

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — This year, more women across racial and political lines are running for office across the country.

“Women were responsible for flipping the greatest number of seats in the U.S. House in both of the last two cycles. They flipped some key gubernatorial races. They’re good candidates…they’re proving that they can win,” said Kelly Dittmar, director of research at the Center for American Women and Politics.

The Center for American Women and Politics tracks candidate filings and nominations.

The center’s latest data shows more Democrat and Republican women are nominees in gubernatorial races.

At the federal level, minority women are setting records as congressional nominees.

“We do have a record number of Latina nominees for the U.S. House. They’re among the only racial and ethnic group of women that are also breaking that nominee record,” said Dittmar. “We can elect the first Latina from a number of states including a very likely case in Oregon, and Illinois, among others.”

Black women candidates also saw recording breaking gains for federal and state races this year too.

“When we see Black women and women running, when and lead boldly once elected that inspires a generation of other women and Black woman to consider running for office,” said Glynda C. Carr, President, and co-founder of Higher Heights for America.

Higher Heights for America helps Black women run for elected office.

Organization leaders said they’re calling this latest surge “the Chisholm effect.”

“It’s the 50th anniversary of Shirley Chisholm’s bold run for president in 1972. She was the first woman and African American to enter her name into nomination to a major party,” said Carr. “50 years later, we see a record number of women running up and down the ballot.”

The data shows Republican women had a record number of candidate filings but not as many of them were nominated for the general election.

“We’re seeing so much more interest from women, minorities, veterans, and interestingly on the Republican side, so I think it’s been a long-concerted effort by Republican leaders to recognize that having more women in office is better for our country,” said Cassie Smedile, Executive Director of America Rising PAC.

Republican women are also generally less represented in elected office, but Smedile said there’s been an effort to change that.

“You’ve got more people who are representative of their communities running on the GOP ticket,” said Smedile. “We want to make sure that our party is represented by a cross-section of the country in Congress.”

But regardless of party, analysts say women candidates still face major barriers.

“Whether they be gender, racial intersectional stereotypes about their capacity to lead or to win, whether it be financial disparities in the levels of giving,” Dittmar.

Dittmar said women are also unrepresented as political donors.

“We need to also incentivize women to also be part of that and make their voices heard financially,” she said.