Primary Outlook: Women Candidates in Illinois

May 29, 2018

Ahead of the Illinois primary election on March 20, 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 IL primary races for congressional and statewide offices, see CAWP’s Election Watch page.

CONGRESS

Current: 4 (4D) of 20 members of the IL congressional delegation (20%)
Filed: 17 (17D)
Percent of all Filed Congressional Candidates (D/R): 21.5% (17 of 79)

SENATE

Current: 1 of 2 senators

  • Just 2 (2D) women have been elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois. Notably, they are both women of color: Carol Moseley Braun (1993-1999) and Tammy Duckworth (2017-Present).

There is no Senate race in Illinois this year.

HOUSE

Current: 3 (3D) of 18 representatives (16.7%)

  • All 3 (3D) women House incumbents are running for re-election this year.
  • A total of 16 (8D, 8R) women have represented IL in the U.S. House, including the three current women representatives from IL.

Filed:  17 (17D)

  • 11 women are running to challenge Republican incumbents in the general election.
  • 2 women are running as challengers to Democratic incumbents in the primary election.
  • 1 woman is running in the state’s only open House seat contest (Sol Flores, District 4).

Districts with Women Candidates: 10 of 17
Percent of all Filed House Candidates (D/R):  21.5% (17 of 79)
Percent of all Filed Democratic House Candidates:  34.7% (17 of 49)
Percent of all Filed Republican House Candidates: 0% (0 of 30)

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

  • In 2010, when the same number of U.S. House seats were open (1), 14 (8D, 6R) women filed as primary candidates.
  • In 2012, when five U.S. House seats were open in Illinois, 12 (8D, 4R) women filed as primary candidates.
  • The highest number of Democratic women running for the U.S. House in Illinois between 2008 and 2016 was 9 in 2012, just over half the number of Democratic women who filed for House seats this year.

GOVERNOR

Current: 0
No woman has ever served as governor of Illinois.

Filed: 1 (1R)
Percent of all Filed Gubernatorial Candidates (D/R):  12.5% (1 of 8)
Percent of all Filed Democratic Gubernatorial Candidates:  0% (0 of 6)
Percent of all Filed Republican Gubernatorial Candidates: 50% (1 of 2)

Recent history: This year’s only woman candidate for governor – Republican challenger Jeanne Ives – is the only female major party candidate for governor in the past three gubernatorial elections. Twenty-three major party candidates filed for governor in 2010, 2014, and 2018 combined; just one is a woman.

OTHER STATEWIDE ELECTED EXECUTIVE OFFICES

Current: 3 (2D, 1R) of 6 positions (excludes governor) (50%)

  • Republican incumbent Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti and Democratic incumbent Comptroller Susana Mendoza have filed for re-election.
  • Incumbent Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D) is not running for re-election.

Filed:  9 (6D, 3R)

  • 3 (2D, 1R) women are running for Illinois’ open Attorney General seat.
  • 2 (1D, 1R) women are running for Comptroller: Republican Darlene Senger is seeking the nomination to challenge Democratic incumbent Susana Mendoza.
  • 4 (3D, 1R) women are running as candidates for Lieutenant Governor, including Republican incumbent Evelyn Sanguinetti.
    • In Illinois, where gubernatorial candidates choose their running mates ahead of the primary, 3 of 6 Democratic candidates chose women.
    • All 4 women candidates for lieutenant governor are women of color, including 3 (3D) Black women and 1 (1R) Latina.

** 7 (6D, 1R) of 9 filed major party candidates for statewide elected executive offices (other than governor) are women of color, including all of the Democratic women candidates for these offices. According to CAWP, just 8 women of color currently serve in statewide elected executive office nationwide.

Percent of all Filed Statewide Executive (other than governor) Candidates (D/R): 37.5% (9 of 24)
Percent of all Filed Democratic Statewide Executive (other than governor) Candidates: 35.3% (6 of 17)
Percent of all Filed Republican Statewide Executive (other than governor) Candidates: 42.9% (3 of 7)

Recent history: The number of women who filed for major party candidacy for statewide elected executive offices (other than governor) in Illinois in 2018 is greater than the number who filed in 2014 (7: 3D, 4R) and 2010 (4: 3D, 1R), when the same set of offices were last contested.