According to the Center for American Women in Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Rutgers University, as of February 2, 2002, 30 women from 21 states are considering running in gubernatorial elections this year, many from states with open seats, where there is no incumbent, presenting a better chance of a win. Currently, women make up only 10 percent of our nation’s governors. Karen O’Connor, Director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University, predicts that women will make gains this year simply because of the sheer number of qualified women candidates entering the election. Many of the candidates this year have already held statewide offices, a vantage point for women candidates who, according to Barbara Lee, a feminist philanthropist who supports projects to increase women in politics, are generally considered “nontraditional” candidates in areas thought to require “traditional executive leadership experience.”
There are 20 Democratic women in the running for 2002 and 10 Republicans. The largest number of women gubernatorial candidates to run for office was 34 in 1994.