It’s been clear for a while that 2020 is another historic year for women running for Congress. As of July 1, a total of 574 women were running in the House and 58 in the Senate, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. That beats the 2018 totals of 476 and 53, respectively.
What hasn’t been clear is whether enough women are running, and in the right races, that we’ll actually increase our representation in Congress this year like we did in 2018.
So we did the math. And today we can predict that women will gain ground again in Congress this cycle—as many as 23 seats if everything breaks our way.
Our gains would hold even if Democrats don’t do as well as expected in competitive House races, mostly due to women winning Democratic primaries in safe open seats. But the odds of significantly increasing our representation do go down if we don’t win some of the most tightly contested races.
For this analysis, we looked carefully at predictions made by political prognosticators, factoring in each candidate’s fundraising advantage as additional evidence for victory. Here’s where we’re at, and where we could end up:
Currently, 127 women serve in the House and Senate combined, or 23.7 percent of the 535 seats. The 2020 outcome in the Senate is likely to keep these numbers fairly static. Democrats are competing in two woman vs. woman races in Iowa and Maine and hoping to add women in Kansas, Texas and Kentucky, but we’re also hoping to defeat sitting Republican women in Arizona and Georgia.
In a best-case scenario, we’ll net one woman in the Senate, so the majority of our growth in numbers would come from the House, which now has 101 women, or 23.2 percent of seats.
The most likely result is that women—incumbents and non-incumbents—will win at least 106 House seats, with 17 more that could go either way, putting women between 24.3 and 28.2 percent of seats. As you can see, even our conservative estimate has women increasing our representation, but that margin goes way up if women win toss-up races.
We want to make history for women again in November, just as we did in 2018. Imagine waking up on November 4 and learning women jumped to 27 or 28 percent of Congress.