A groundbreaking number of women filed to run for the House this midterm cycle — and now it’s official: A record number have secured major party nominations for a seat in the lower chamber, per data from Rutgers’s Center for American Women and Politics. After Tuesday’s races, at least 185 women have captured a Democratic or Republican nomination for the House, surpassing the previous record of 167.
For Democratic women, this week’s primaries also continued a winning streak.
In Kansas and Michigan, Laura Kelly and Gretchen Whitmer went two-for-two in the states’ respective governor races. Kelly, a Kansas state senator, snagged the governor’s nomination with more than 50 percent of the vote. She’ll likely go up against incendiary Trump ally Kris Kobach this fall (though his race had yet to be called at press time), after getting recruited into the race by former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
Republicans are favored in deep-red Kansas, but Democrats think they can paint likely nominee Kobach, who has made a career of crusading against voter fraud, as someone who’s too extreme for more centrist voters in Kansas.
Whitmer, the Michigan frontrunner, held off a challenge from progressive hopeful Abdul El-Sayed to capture the party’s nomination with around 50 percent of the vote. Whitmer, a former state Senate Democratic leader, has campaigned on addressing the state’s struggles with its crumbling infrastructure and tackling the drinking water crisis in Flint. (One of the policy proposals on her website simply reads, “It’s time to fix the damn roads.”) She will take on Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette during the general election.
Also in Michigan — a state that could be integral to Democrats’ efforts to retake the House this fall — women triumphed in a swath of the state’s contested House nominations, including key pickup races. Former state Rep. Gretchen Driskell swept the primary in the 7th Congressional District, while former Obama administration official Elissa Slotkin won the 8th. Women candidates also looked on track to come out on top in several other districts as of late Tuesday evening.
As a recent study from Mehlman Castagnetti Rosen & Thomas noted, if Democratic women maintain such victories this fall, they’re set to outnumber white men in their party in the House soon.