Primary Outlook: Women Candidates in Michigan

August 2, 2018

Ahead of the Michigan primary election on August 7, 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 Michigan primary races for congressional and statewide offices, see CAWP’s Election Watch page.


Current: 3 (3D) of 16 members of the Michigan congressional delegation (18.8%)
Filed: 16 (14D, 2R)
Percent of all Filed Congressional Candidates (D/R): 29.6% (16 of 54)


Current: 1 of 2 senators

  • Incumbent Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Michigan in 2001. She is running for re-election this year.

Filed: 1 (1D)

  • Incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D) is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. No women are running for the Republican nomination.

Percent of all Filed Senate Candidates (D/R): 33.3% (1 of 3)
Percent of all Filed Democratic Senate Candidates:  100% (1 of 1)
Percent of all Filed Republican Senate Candidates: 0% (0 of 2)


Current: 2 of 14 representatives (14.3%)

  • 2 (2D) women serve in the U.S. House from Michigan. They are both running for re-election this year.

Filed:  15 (13D, 2R)

  • 2 (2D) women incumbents – Representatives Debbie Dingell and Brenda Lawrence – are running for re-election.
  • 4 (4D) women are running as challengers, seeking Democratic nominations to challenge Republican incumbents in four congressional districts.
  • 9 (7D, 2R) women are running in open seat contests in MI-09, MI-11, and MI-13.

* 5 (5D) of 15 women candidates for U.S. House from Michigan are women of color, including 3 Black women and 2 Asian women, both of whom also identify as Muslim. Among these candidates is Representative Brenda Lawrence (D), who is one of 18 Black women currently serving in the U.S. House.

Districts with Women Candidates:  9 of 14
Percent of all Filed House Candidates (D/R):  29.4% (15 of 51)
Percent of all Filed Democratic House Candidates:  39.4% (13 of 33)
Percent of all Filed Republican House Candidates: 11.1% (2 of 18)

Recent history: The number of women who filed for major party candidacy for the U.S. House in Michigan in 2018 is greater than any other year between 2008 and 2018.

  • In 2012, when 2 U.S. House seats were open in Michigan, 8 (4D, 4R) women filed as primary candidates. This year, there are 3 open U.S. House seats in Michigan. There were 4 open U.S. House seats in Michigan in 2010 and 2014, when 7 women filed for office.
  • This year marks the highest number of Democratic women running for the U.S. House in Michigan between 2008 and 2018.


Current: 0
One woman – Democrat Jennifer Granholm – has served as governor of Michigan. She served from 2003-2011.

Filed:  1 (1D)

  • Democrat Gretchen Whitmer is the only woman running for governor of Michigan this year. The seat is open.

Percent of all Filed Gubernatorial Candidates (D/R):  14.3% (1 of 7)
Percent of all Filed Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates:  33.3% (1 of 3)
Percent of all Filed Republican Gubernatorial Candidates: 0% (0 of 4)

Recent history: To date, former Governor Jennifer Granholm (D) has been the only woman to win a major party nomination for governor of Michigan.


Michigan selects nominees for other statewide elected executive offices via party conventions in late August.