A record number of women are running for state legislative seats this year, with 10 percent more women candidates running than in 2004. According to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University, 2,431 women are running for state legislative seats. The former record of 2,375 was set in 1992, the “Year of the Woman,” when women’s organizations made an effort to turn out women voters and women’s representation made the largest increase in the US Congress.
In addition to state legislative seats, large numbers of women are also running for statewide executive offices. Ten women are running for governor, and 93 women won a party nomination for other positions such as lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and state treasurer, Women’s eNews reports. While these numbers do not break the 1994 record of 109 women running for statewide office, they do come close.
Advocates for greater representation of women in government note the importance of electing women to local and state office in order to increase the number of women in higher level offices. Executive Director of the National Women’s Political Caucus Clare Giesen noted that women are more likely than men to serve in local offices before running for a seat in the US Congress or Senate, according to Women’s eNews. Additionally, Debbie Walsh, director of CAWP, told the Associated Press, “It’s important to see women running for and winning election to their state legislatures because the seats provide a pipeline to higher office.”