WASHINGTON: A record number of women are running for the US Congress in November, a surge that follows a year marked by the #MeToo movement and defiance of President Donald Trump.
After another round of primary voting in several states on Tuesday, 183 women will fight for a seat in the House of Representatives in November’s midterm election.
“It’s official,” the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) said after the voting in Kansas, Michigan and Missouri. “We’ve broken the record for women major party nominees for US House in any year.” Until now the record was 167.
In another record, at least 11 women are running for state governor, the advocacy group said on Twitter. Until now that number had peaked at 10, in 1994.
In June, women also set a record for how many are running for the Senate. It is 42 — 24 Democrats and 18 Republicans. The previous record was 40, set in 2016, said the CAWP.
Several women candidates in races that they have a good chance of winning are from minorities with little or no representation in Congress.
They include Rashida Tlaib, who won a Democratic primary Tuesday in Michigan and is now poised to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.
Several Native American women are also running for seats. “A Native American woman has never been elected to the US Congress,” CAWP said.
The strong number of female candidates comes midway through the term of Trump, whose inauguration in January 2017 was met the next day with a huge march in Washington favor of women’s rights.
It also comes as the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment of women by men in powerful positions has marked a watershed moment in US society.
Trump-backed candidates struggle to cross finish line in Ohio, Kansas
Republican candidates backed by Donald Trump clung to small leads in closely watched races in Ohio and Kansas on Wednesday, with the narrow margins serving as encouraging signs for Democrats heading into November’s elections.
Republicans looked likely to hold onto a US House of Representatives seat in a reliably conservative district in Ohio, where Troy Balderson led Democrat Danny O’Connor by about 1,700 votes in a special election.
The final result could be days away as state officials count more than 8,000 provisional and absentee ballots.
In Kansas, staunch Trump ally and conservative firebrand Kris Kobach held a lead of less than 200 votes over current Governor Jeff Colyer, in a primary race that could take days or weeks before a final result is determined.
The narrow margin in Ohio — less than 1 percentage point separates Balderson and O’Connor — is little comfort for Republicans looking ahead to the Nov 6 vote, as they outspent Democratic groups by more than 4 to 1 to retain a seat they have held for three decades.
Democrats performed dramatically better than expected in the last federal special election before the midterms, when Republicans are defending majorities in both the House and Senate.
Tuesday’s vote mirrored special elections through 2017 and 2018, with suburban and urban turnout rates that have favoured Democrats exceeding turnout in rural areas where Trump has a higher level of support.
Democrats need to win 23 more seats in the House and two in the Senate to control Congress and put the brakes on Trump’s agenda. All 435 House seats, 35 of 100 Senate seats and 36 of 50 governors’ offices are up for grabs in November.
Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2018