Primary Outlook: Women Candidates in West Virginia

May 29, 2018

Ahead of the West Virginia primary election on May 8, 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 WV primary races for congressional and statewide offices, see CAWP’s Election Watch page.


Current: 1 (1R) of 5 members of the WV congressional delegation (20%)
Filed: 6 (4D, 2R)
Percent of all Filed Congressional Candidates (D/R): 23.1% (6 of 26)


Current: 1 of 2 senators

  • Current Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R), who is not up for re-election this year, is the first and only woman that has represented West Virginia in the U.S. Senate. She was elected to the Senate in 2014.

Filed:  1 (1D)

  • 1 (1D) woman, Paula Swearengin, has filed to challenge incumbent Senator Joe Manchin for the Democratic nomination. There are no other Democratic candidates.
  • There are no women among the 6 candidates competing for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.


Current: 0 of 3 representatives (0%)

  • A total of 2 (1D, 1R) women have represented WV in the U.S. House, including current Senator Shelley Moore Capito.

Filed:  5 (3D, 2R)

  • 2 (2D) women are running to challenge Republican incumbents in the general election.
  • 3 (1D, 2R) women are running in West Virginia’s only open House seat contest (CD-03).

Districts with Women Candidates: 3 of 3
Percent of all Filed House Candidates (D/R):  27.8% (5 of 18)
Percent of all Filed Democratic House Candidates:  33.3% (3 of 9)
Percent of all Filed Republican House Candidates: 22.2% (2 of 9)

Recent history: The number of women who filed for major party candidacy for the U.S. House in West Virginia in 2018 matches the high for women candidates between 2008 and 2018; 5 women candidates ran for the U.S. House in 2010, and 5 women are running again this year.

  • The highest number of Democratic women running for the U.S. House in Ohio between 2008 and 2016 was 10 in 2008 and 2012. This year, 11 Democratic women filed to run for House seats.

There are no statewide executive elections in West Virginia this year.