Tuesday’s historic moment for women isn’t quite over.
Right now, two marquee races remain undecided: Kyrsten Sinema’s Arizona Senate race and Stacey Abrams’ Georgia gubernatorial race. Mail ballot counting in Arizona could take days or weeks, and provisional ballots could narrow the margin in Georgia and trigger a mandatory recount or runoff election.
Until then, they still need our support. Chip in $10 to our Too Close to Call slate.
From the races that have been called, a couple of narratives are emerging, some more accurate than others.
The topline story: A record number of women—at least 123—will serve in the next Congress.
That includes the largest-ever freshman class of women. These new women are overwhelmingly young and from diverse backgrounds and communities. Forty-four—the most ever—will be women of color, including the first Native American and Muslim women.
Another narrative that is less accurate: that these women were ‘picked’ to run. Outsider candidates from local activism—like Lucy McBath or Jahana Hayes—were at least as numerous as candidates with established political connections, like Lauren Underwood or Abby Finkenauer. And many of the new women emerged from crowded and hard-fought Democratic primaries against better funded male candidates.
Our record numbers continue down the ballot. Nine women have already won gubernatorial races, matching previous records set in 2004 and 2007. And women make up four of Democrats’ seven gubernatorial pickups, in Maine, Michigan, Kansas and New Mexico. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM) will be the first woman of color ever elected governor.
And it’s still too early to get a complete read on state legislative races—Democrats flipped six legislative chambers and more than 300 seats—and many of the women featured on our state-focused slates triumphed. That includes Minnesotans Anne Claflin, Ruth Richardson and Alice Mann, who helped flip the House there.
So where does that leave us? Democrats are dominating the number of women in Congress, which could blunt the expansion of women there if Republicans continue to lose women in the House.
And while women are rightfully credited with helping takeover the House—from the number of strong female candidates to the funding and activism done behind the scenes—at 23 percent it’s clear there’s still a lot of work to be done. And nine women out of 55 state and territorial governors leaves a lot of room for improvement too.
We do, however, expect these women to govern and legislate the way they won their races: By bringing forward-thinking policies and ideals to the table, and as representatives of a new and diverse rising American electorate.
Now, the next phase of our work starts: getting even more women elected in 2020.