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Record Number of Women Run for US House of Representatives

A record 142 women (15 more than the previous record in 2002) are running in Congressional elections today for the US House of Representatives, according to the Center for American Women in Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University. With 57 of the 60 women currently serving in the House running for reelection, and women are running against each other in three open seats, the number of women in the House is certain to rise slightly. The Christian Science Monitor reports that this year’s group of women candidates is the most capable the nation has seen, with more experience in politics, more campaign funding, and more professional campaign operations than in years before. The gains to be made this year, however, are not likely to trump the success of 1992, known in politics as “The Year of the Woman.” Debbie Walsh, director of CAWP, explains, “To make significant progress, we’ll need another landmark year like 1992, when there were 91 open seats. That year, more than one-third of the women candidates ran for open seats, and record numbers of women won.” This year, there are only 29 open seats, although women are running in more than half of these seats. In open seats, 20 women are running for Congress in 18 districts. In 11 Congressional districts, women are running against each other. Three of these 11 races are for open seats, while the other eight are between an incumbent and a challenger. Ten women are running for seats in the US Senate today, five of whom are incumbents, and three of whom are vying for open seats, reports CAWP. Democrat Betty Castor, who is running for the open seat of retiring Senator Bob Graham (D) in Florida against Mel Martinez, was leading in Election eve polls. Incumbent Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), however, was losing in Election eve polls. Both races are tight. There are currently 14 women serving in the Senate. Three women are running for governor today in the eleven states that are holding gubernatorial elections.

Sources:

Center for American Women in Politics 9/24/04, 10/15/04; Washington Post 10/14/04; Christian Science Monitor 10/19/04; Minnesota Star Tribune 10/29/04

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