Primary Outlook: Women Candidates in Washington

August 2, 2018

Ahead of the Washington primary election on August 7, 2018, we outline the numbers and proportions of women who have filed as candidates for congressional 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 Washington primary races for congressional and statewide offices, see CAWP’s Election Watch page.


Current: 6 (4D, 2R) of 12  members of the Washington congressional delegation (50%)
Filed: 13 (10D, 3R)
Percent of all Filed Congressional Candidates (D/R): 25.5% (13 of 51)


Current: 2 of 2 senators (100%)

  • Washington is one of four states that currently have two women senators. The others are California, New Hampshire, and Minnesota.
  • Senators Maria Cantwell (D) and Patty Murray (D) are the only two women to ever serve in the U.S. Senate from Washington. They have served together since 2001.
  • Senator Maria Cantwell (D) is up for re-election this year.

Filed:  2 (1D, 1R)

  • Incumbent Senator Maria Cantwell (D) will face four male challengers in the Democratic primary.
  • Susan Hutchison is one of 13 Republicans seeking their party’s nomination to challenge Cantwell.

Percent of all Filed Senate Candidates (D/R):  11.1% (2 of 18)
Percent of all Filed Democratic Senate Candidates:  20% (1 of 5)
Percent of all Filed Republican Senate Candidates: 7.7% (1 of 13)


Current: 4 of 10 representatives (40%)

  • Republican Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jaime Herrera Beutler, and Democratic Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Suzan DelBene are all running for re-election this year.

Filed:  11 (9D, 2R)

  • All 4 (2D, 2R) incumbent women are running for re-election this year. The two Republican women incumbents are the only Republican women running for the U.S. House from Washington this year.
  • 5 (5D) women are running as challengers, including one primary challenger and four women seeking the Democratic nomination to challenge a Republican incumbent in the general election.
  • 2 (2D) women are running for the Democratic nomination in WA-08, which is an open seat contest this year.

* Two women of color currently serve in Washington’s congressional delegation: Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler, who is Latina, and Representative Pramila Jayapal, who is South Asian. They are the only women of color candidates running for the U.S. House from Washington this year.

Districts with Women Candidates:  7 of 10
Percent of all Filed House Candidates (D/R): 33.3% (11 of 33)
Percent of all Filed Democratic House Candidates:  50% (9 of 18)
Percent of all Filed Republican House Candidates: 13.3% (2 of 15)

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

  • In 2012, when 3 U.S. House seats were open, 9 (6D, 3R) women filed as primary candidates.
  • This year marks the highest number of Democratic, but not Republican, women running for the U.S. House in Washington between 2008 and 2018.