After #SuperTuesday Primaries, Women Candidates on Path to Make History in Multiple States

June 7, 2018

Eight primaries were held on Tuesday – marking it the #SuperTuesday of election 2018. Many races in California remain too close to call as of Wednesday morning. Below are highlights and detailed results from the 7 other states that held primaries on June 5th: Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, and South Dakota.

*Updates from California will be added as results are available.

Governor

  • Women are likely to be elected governor for the first time in Iowa and South Dakota this fall, and Alabama is poised to elect its first woman governor in her own right (not as a surrogate for her husband). Incumbent Governors Kay Ivey (R-AL) and Kim Reynolds (R-IA) were appointed in 2018 and 2017 – respectively – and are now nominees for full terms this year in contests that currently favor their party. In South Dakota, current U.S. Representative Kristi Noem won the Republican nomination for governor, a seat rated solidly Republican. No woman has ever served as governor of South Dakota.
  • In New Mexico, current U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham won the Democratic nomination for governor in a race rated as leaning Democratic by Cook Political Report. If successful in November, Lujan Grisham would be: the first Democratic woman governor of New Mexico, the first (or among the firsts) Democratic woman of color nationwide, and the first (or among the firsts) Democratic Latina governor nationwide.
    • Lujan Grisham was one of 5 (3D, 2R) women candidates for statewide executive office in New Mexico. All 5, including 3 Latinas, secured their nominations.

U.S. House

  • Two of New Mexico’s 3 U.S. House seats will be held by women in 2019. Women secured both Democratic and Republican nominations for open seats in NM-01 and NM-02. New Mexico’s only current congresswoman – Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) – did not run for re-election; instead she ran – and was successful – in her bid for the Democratic nomination for governor.
    • In NM-01, Democrat Debra Haaland is poised to become the first Native American woman to Congress; she won the Democratic nomination in what is rated as a solidly Democratic district by Cook Political Report.
    • In NM-02, Democrat Xochitl Torres Small, a Latina, will run against Republican Yvette Herrell. This district is rated as leaning Republican by Cook Political Report.
  • Iowa may elect its first woman to the U.S. House. It is currently 1 of 5 states that has never sent a woman to the U.S. House. On June 5th, 2 women won Democratic nominations to challenge Republican incumbents in competitive districts this fall.
    • In IA-01, Abby Finkenauer is running to be the youngest woman to serve in Congress (at 29). IA-01 is currently rated as a toss-up by Cook Political Report.
    • In IA-03, Cindy Axne is challenging Republican incumbent David Young. IA-03 is currently rated as leaning Republican by Cook Political Report.
  • New Jersey has the potential to gain one woman in its U.S. House delegation. Mikie Sherrill (D) won the Democratic nomination for the open seat in New Jersey’s 11th congressional district, which is rated as a toss-up by Cook Political Report.
  • In less positive news:
    • South Dakota will have no woman representing it in Congress for the first time since 2004.[1]There are currently 11 states that have no women in their congressional delegations.
    • Mississippi will continue to be 1 of 5 states where no woman has ever served in the U.S. House.
    • Incumbent Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) was forced into a runoff for the Republican nomination in her bid for re-election to Alabama’s 2nd congressional district.

Alabama

U.S. House

Women candidates secured 3 of 12 (25%) major party nominations for U.S. House seats decided in Alabama on June 5th. One more woman – incumbent Representative Martha Roby (R) – will advance to a runoff contest for the Republican nomination in AL-02. Women are 3 of 7 (42.9%) Democratic nominees for U.S. House; just 1 Republican ran for the U.S. House in Alabama and she is in a runoff to secure 1 of 6 Republican nominations.

  • Incumbent Representative Terri Sewell (D) was unopposed in her primary bid for re-election in Alabama’s 7th congressional district. She has no Republican opponent this fall.
  • 2 Democratic women nominees will challenge Republican incumbents in districts deemed solidly Republican by Cook Political Report, including:
    • Tabitha Isner (AL-02)
    • Mallory Hagan (AL-03)
  • There are no open U.S. House seats in Alabama this year.

Representative Terri Sewell (D) is the only woman of color among the 3 U.S. House nominees in Alabama. She is one of 18 Black women currently serving in the U.S. House.

Statewide Elected Executive Office (including Governor)

Current Governor Kay Ivey won the Republican nomination for governor. She was first appointed governor in 2018. If successful in November, she will win a full term and become the first woman elected governor in her own right in Alabama. The first woman governor of Alabama, Lurleen Wallace (R), was elected as a surrogate for her husband in 1967 and served for just 15 months.  One Democratic woman candidate for governor was defeated in the primary.

Overall, women candidates are 5 of 13 (38.5%) major party nominees already decided for statewide executive offices in Alabama, including 4 of 7 (57.1%) Democratic nominees and 1 of 6 (16.7%) Republican nominees. One more woman– Twinkle Cavanaugh–is in a runoff contest for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor. 4 (2D, 2R) women candidates were defeated in primaries for statewide executive offices.

Of the 5 (4D, 1R) women nominees for statewide executive office:

  • Incumbent Governor Kay Ivey (R) is running for a full term as governor in a race strongly favoring a Republican; and
  • 4 Democratic women candidates are running as challengers to Republican incumbents for Secretary of State, Auditor, and Public Service Commissioner (places 1 and 2).

Of the 5 (4D, 1R) women nominees for statewide executive office in Alabama, 2 (2D) are women of color. Both state auditor nominee Miranda Joseph and Public Service Commission (place 1) nominee Cara McClure are Black women. Alabama has never elected a woman of color statewide.

California 

Full results pending

Iowa

U.S. House

Iowa has never elected a woman to the U.S. House. Women candidates are 2 of 8 (25%) major party nominees for U.S. House seats in Iowa, both Democrats (making up 50% of all Democratic nominees). 3 (2D, 1R) women House candidates were unsuccessful.

  • Both Democratic women nominees will challenge Republican incumbents in competitive districts, including:
    • Abby Finkenauer, who is competing in IA-01 – currently rated as a toss-up by Cook Political Report.
    • Cindy Axne, who is competing in IA-03 – currently rated as leaning Republican by Cook Political Report.

Statewide Elected Executive Office (including Governor)

Current Governor Kim Reynolds won the Republican nomination for governor. She was first appointed governor in 2017. If successful in November, she will win a full term and become the first woman elected governor in Iowa. Two Democratic women candidates for governor were defeated in the primary.

Overall, women candidates are 3 of 10 (30%) major party nominees for statewide executive offices in Iowa, including 1 of 5 (20%) Democratic nominees and 2 of 4 (50%) Republican nominees. 2 (2D) women candidates defeated in primaries for statewide executive offices.

Of the 3 (1D, 2R) women nominees for statewide executive office:

  • Incumbent Governor Kim Reynolds (R) is running for a full term as governor in a race favoring a Republican;
  • Incumbent State Auditor Mary Mosiman (R) is running for re-election; and
  • Democrat Diedre DeJear is challenging Republican incumbent Secretary of State Paul Pate.

Diedre DeJear, who is Black, is the only woman of color nominee for statewide office in Iowa. Iowa has never elected a woman of color statewide.

Mississippi

U.S. House

Mississippi has never elected a woman to the U.S. House and that will not change in 2018. All 3 (3R) women candidates for the U.S. House in Mississippi were defeated.

U.S. Senate

One Democratic woman candidate running to challenge incumbent Republican Senator Roger Wicker was defeated in the primary.

Current MS Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R), who was appointed to the U.S. Senate in April 2018, will compete in the November 6th jungle primary to serve out the remainder of the term. She is the only woman to ever serve in Congress from Mississippi.

Montana

U.S. House

Kathleen Williams (D) secured the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican incumbent Greg Gianforte (R) in November Montana’s at-large U.S. House seat. She defeated 4 men and 1 woman in the Democratic primary. Cook Political Report rates Montana’s at-large House seat as likely Republican.

The only woman to ever represent Montana in the U.S. House–and in Congress–is Jeanette Rankin (R). She became the first woman in Congress in 1917 and served another term from 1941-1943. No woman has represented Montana in Congress since then.

New Jersey

U.S. House

Women candidates are 2 of 24 (8.3%) major party nominees for U.S. House seats in New Jersey, including 0 of 12 Republican nominees and 2 of 12 (16.7%) Democratic nominees. 4 (3D, 1R) women House candidates were defeated in the primary.

  • Incumbent Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D)–the only woman in New Jersey’s 14–member congressional delegation-was unopposed in her primary bid for re-election in New Jersey’s 12th congressional district.
  • Mikie Sherrill (D) won the Democratic nomination for the open seat in New Jersey’s 11th congressional district, which is rated as a toss-up by Cook Political Report.

Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman is the first Black woman to represent New Jersey in Congress. She will remain the only woman of color representing NJ in Washington, DC.

U.S. Senate

One woman was unsuccessful in her primary challenge to Democratic incumbent Senator Bob Menendez.

New Mexico

U.S. House

Women candidates are 4 of 6 (66.7%) major party nominees for U.S. House in New Mexico, including 2 of 3 (66.7%) Republican nominees and 2 of 3 (66.7%) of 3 Democratic nominees. 2 (2D) women House candidates were defeated in the primary.

  • The only woman incumbent from New Mexico – Democratic Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)- did not run for re-election; instead she ran – and was successful-in her bid for the Democratic nomination for governor.
  • All 4 (2D, 2R) women candidates for the U.S. House in New Mexico are running for 2 open seats, all but guaranteeing that 2 women will represent New Mexico in the House in 2019. They will be 40% of New Mexico’s total congressional delegation and 66.7% of New Mexico’s U.S. House delegation.
    • In NM-01, Debra Haaland (D) is on track to become the first Native American woman in Congress. She will run against Janice Arnold-Jones (R) in a district strongly favoring Democrats.
    • In NM-02, Democrat Xochitl Torres Small will run against Republican Yvette Herrell. This district is rated as leaning Republican by Cook Political Report.

Women of color are 2 of 4 (50%) women U.S. House nominees and 2 of 6 (33.3%) total U.S. House nominees in New Mexico, including Debra Haaland (D), who is Native American, and Xochitl Torres Small (D), who is Latina.

U.S. Senate

There were no women candidates for the U.S. Senate in New Mexico. Two men (1D, 1R) ran unopposed for major party nominations.

Statewide Elected Executive Office (including Governor)

Current Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham won the Democratic nomination for governor. In a race favoring Democrats, Lujan Grisham could well become the:

  • First Democratic woman governor of New Mexico;
  • First Democratic woman of color governor nationwide; and
  • First Democratic Latina governor nationwide.

Of the 4 (4D) women of color who have won gubernatorial nominations to date (GA, ID, TX, NM), Lujan Grisham is the only one in a contest where her party is currently favored to win in November.

Overall, women candidates are 5 of 14 (35.7%) major party nominees for statewide executive offices in New Mexico, including 3 of 7 (42.9%) Democratic nominees and 2 of 7 (28.6%) Republican nominees. All 5 (3D, 2R) women who competed for statewide executive offices in New Mexico won their races, including:

  • Incumbent Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver (D), who will run against a woman – Republican Johanna Cox – for re-election this fall (both women were unopposed in their primaries);
  • Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), who is the Democratic nominee for the open gubernatorial seat;
  • Michelle Garcia Holmes (R), who ran unopposed for the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor (an open seat); and
  • Stephanie Garcia Richard (D), who is the Democratic nominee for the open position of Commissioner of Public Lands.

There are 3 (2D, 1R) women of color, all Latinas, among the 5 women statewide executive nominees in New Mexico: Michelle Lujan Grisham (D), Michelle Garcia Holmes (R), and Stephanie Garcia Richard (D).

South Dakota 

U.S. House

For the first time since 2004, South Dakota will have no women representing it in Congress in 2019. The only woman candidate for South Dakota’s at-large seat in the U.S. House was defeated for the Republican nomination, and there is no U.S. Senate contest in South Dakota this year.

  • Incumbent Representative Kristi Noem did not run for re-election; instead she ran–and was successful–in her bid for the Republican nomination for governor.

Statewide Elected Executive Office (including Governor)

The only statewide executive office on the SD ballot on June 5th was governor.[2] In that race, current Representative Kristi Noem (R) won the Republican nomination in a race that heavily favors the Republican candidate. If successful, she will be the first woman governor of South Dakota. No other women competed for governor in the primary.

[1] Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D) took office in June 2004.

[2] In South Dakota, political parties nominate state executive candidates at their conventions instead of holding a primary. The only office this does not apply to is governor. The Democratic Party state convention will be held from June 15 to June 16. The Republican Party state convention will be held from June 20 to June 23.