The outcome of the 2016 election activated many different groups of people, but women especially. They’ve been protesting in so many ways, like marching, donating to organizations that support marginalized people, or just not shutting up about politics over brunch. All of those things are useful in their own way, but nothing beats actually voting or getting involved in politics. Happily, a record number of women are running for the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, and a lot of them are Democrats, which means there’s a very good chance that the party will overtake at least that chamber of Congress.
Representation is everything, so having candidates that overwhelmingly support things like women’s health care, paid parental leave, education, and civil rights, according to the Associated Press, is a very good thing. As of Thursday, a total of 309 women from both parties had filed for candidacy to run for the House, topping the previous record of 298 in 2012. Although women make up over half of the country’s population, four out of five members in the House are male.
It’s not going to be easy to change that. A lot of women are running against incumbent candidates who have been in office for a long time, have the party support, as well as all-important name recognition. But the women are on the ballot and that means a lot of change to come.
It’s happening in all sectors of government, too. In addition to breaking records in the House, Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University announced that there are 40 women (24 Democrats and 16 Republicans) running for governor in 2018, beating the previous record of 34 women in 1994. So much policy is decided in the House and at the state level, especially when it comes to abortion restrictions, LGBTQ anti-discrimination policies, gun safety laws — pretty much everything. The more women, and especially women who stand up for all women, the better. As CAWP’s director, Debbie Walsh, said in a press release:
These are some of the most interesting races to watch, no matter where you live.
1Virginia’s 10th District: Anyone
Republican Barbara Comstock has been the long-standing representative of this district, but it’s getting “increasingly blue,” according to Politico. There are a handful of Democratic women vying for her seat, with state legislators supporting Sen. Jennifer Wexton and two former Obama officials, Lindsey Davis Stover and Alison Friedman, jumping in the race as well.
2California’s 39th District: Mai Khanh Tran
Tran is a physician and backed by Emily’s List. Much like in Illinois, this district has been represented by Republican Ed Royce for years. In fact, Royce is one of the longest serving members of Congress, so it’s really his time to step down. Although there’s usually never a chance for Democrats to unseat a Republican here, the district went to Clinton in 2016, so there’s a good chance of winning.
3Governor, Georgia: Stacey Abrams
Abrams also has the seal of approval from Emily’s List after serving in the state’s House of Representatives. If elected, she’d be the first ever woman or person of color in the office.
4Ohio’s 4th District: Betsy Rader
Rader is also endorsed by Emily’s List and has the chance to flip the seat from Republican Dave Joyce, who has voted to defund Planned Parenthood and strip the Affordable Care Act. We need women like Rader in the House.
5Illinois 14th: Lauren Underwood
Underwood is also up against a male, Republican incumbent Randy Hultgren, whom Emily’s List calls an “extremist.” The district has also never been represented by a woman or a person of color before, so not only could she vote for our health care but also make history. There are only a few months before we go to the polls, so remember t0 check out who’s running in your area if you want to really take part in the resistance.