Primary Outlook: Women Candidates in Connecticut

August 10, 2018

Ahead of the Connecticut primary election on August 14, 2018, we outline the numbers and proportions of women who have filed as candidates for congressional and statewide office. The data below also provide points of historical comparison to give context to today’s presence and potential success of women candidates.

All data are provided from the Center for American Women and Politics, Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University. For a full list of the women candidates in Connecticut primary races for congressional and statewide offices, see CAWP’s Election Watch page.


Current: 2 of 5 members of the Connecticut congressional delegation (40%)

  • Both women – Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D) and Elizabeth Etsy (D) – serve in the U.S. House. No woman has ever represented Connecticut in the U.S. Senate.
  • Representative Elizabeth Etsy (D) is one of 13 women in the U.S. House not running for re-election this year.

Connecticut holds party conventions ahead of their congressional primary, allowing for some candidates to secure a general election nomination without appearing on the primary ballot. Among congressional races in Connecticut this year, the only contests on August 14th primary ballots are for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate and both Republican and Democratic nominations in the 5th congressional district, an open seat created by the departure of current Representative Elizabeth Etsy (D).

SENATE (GOP PRIMARY): Women are 0 of 2 candidates in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate.

HOUSE (CT-05 PRIMARY): Women are 3 of 5 (60%) candidates, including both Democratic candidates and 1 of 3 (33.3%) Republican candidates, in major party primaries in Connecticut’s 5th congressional district.

  • Two (1D, 1R) of 3 women candidates in the 5th district are women of color; Democrat Jahana Hayes identifies as Black and Republican Ruby O’Neill identifies as Latina. No woman of color has ever represented Connecticut in Congress.


Current: 0
Two women have served as governor of Connecticut:  Democrat Ella Grasso (1975-1980) and Republican M. Jodi Rell (2004-2011).

There are no women among the 7 (2D, 5R) candidates on Tuesday’s ballot for major party nominations for governor of Connecticut.


Current: 3 (3D) of Connecticut’s 5 statewide elected executive offices other than governor

  • Secretary of State Denise Merrill (D) is running for re-election this year. She has already secured the Democratic nomination and will face another woman – Republican Susan Chapman – in November.
  • After 2 decades serving as Connecticut’s State Treasurer, Denise Nappier (D) is not running for re-election this year.
  • Current Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman (D) is not running for re-election this year.

On the primary ballot:  6 (3D, 3R)

  • 4 (2D, 2R) women are candidates for lieutenant governor on Tuesday’s primary ballot. They are 4 of 5 (80%) candidates for lieutenant governor.
  • 1 (1R) woman candidate is running for Attorney General. She is one of 5 (3D, 2R) candidates seeking the open seat.
  • 1 (1D) woman candidate is running for State Treasurer. She is one of 4 (2D, 2R) candidates seeking the open seat.
  • There are no women candidates in the race for State Comptroller, where incumbent Kevin Lembo (D) is running for re-election.

Percent of all Statewide Executive Candidates on Ballot (D/R):  25% (6 of 24)
Percent of all Democratic Statewide Executive Candidates on Ballot:  30% (3 of 10)
Percent of all Republican Statewide Executive Candidates on Ballot: 21.4% (3 of 14)