Women of Color Break Through at Top of Ticket in Georgia and Texas

May 23, 2018

Among the notable results for women in Tuesday’s primaries in Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Texas (primary runoffs):

  • Stacey Abrams (D-GA) and Lupe Valdez (D-TX) secured nominations or governor. Abrams is the first Black women to win a major party nomination for governor in the U.S. and Valdez is the first Latina to win a Democratic nomination for governor; in 2010, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (R) became the first Latina to win both a primary and general election to become governor.
  • Of the 17 women who competed for statewide elected executive offices (including governor) in AR, GA, KY, and TX, 10 (58.8%) won their party’s nomination.
    • 14 of 32 (43.8%) women candidates for the U.S. House won (12) or advanced to runoffs (2) in their primary bids for office on May 22nd.
    • 12 of 27 (44.4%) Democratic women won (10) or advanced to runoffs (2).
    • 2 of 5 (40%) Republican women candidates for the U.S. House were successful.
  • By comparison, 50 of 91 (54.9%) male candidates won (48) or advanced to runoffs (2).
    • Among non-incumbents, 41.9% of women and 41.2% men won or advanced to runoffs.
  • Of the 61 U.S. House nominations decided on May 22nd in AR, GA, KY, and TX, 12 (19.7%) were won by women. Women secured 10 of 32 (31.3%) Democratic nominations and 2 of 29 (6.9%) Republican nominations.
    • 2 (2D) women nominees will compete in open seat contests in districts that solidly favor their opponents.
    • 9 (8D, 1R) women nominees will run as challengers to incumbents, with all but 2 running in districts that solidly favor their opponents.
    • There was just 1 incumbent woman – Karen Handel (R-GA) – running for the U.S. House across the 3 states with their first primaries on May 22nd. She was unopposed in her primary bid. If successful in the Democratic nomination runoff, Lucy McBath will challenge Handel in November.
      • No women currently serve in Congress from Arkansas or Kentucky.
  • Of the 26 women nominees for the U.S. House in AR, GA, KY, and TX (including those that secured nominations on March 5th), 11 are women of color, including 5 Latinas, 5 Black women, and 1 Asian American woman.
  • There are no U.S. Senate contests in AR, GA, or KY this year. In TX, both major party nominees selected on March 5th are men.

Arkansas

Women candidates secured 1 of 8 (12.5%) major party nominations for U.S. House seats in Arkansas.

  • Democrat Hayden Shamel was unopposed in her primary bid to challenge Republican incumbent Bruce Westerman this fall in a district rated as solidly Republican by Cook Political Report.
  • One other Democratic woman candidate was unsuccessful in her bid to challenge the Republican incumbent in Arkansas’ 2nd congressional district.
  • No Republican women ran for the U.S. House in Arkansas.
  • Arkansas is currently one of 11 states with no women in its congressional delegation.

Women won 3 (2R, 1D) of 12 (25%) major party nominations for the 7 statewide executive offices on the ballot in Arkansas.

  • 2 (2R) women incumbents – Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and State Auditor Andrea Lea – ran unopposed in their primary bids for re-election.
  • Susan Inman secured the Democratic nomination for open seat contest for secretary of state.
  • Both women candidates (1D, 1R) for governor were unsuccessful in their bids to challenge Republican incumbent governor Asa Hutchinson.

Georgia

Stacey Abrams secured the Democratic nomination for governor, becoming the first Black woman to win a major party nomination for governor in the United States. She is only the second woman to be a nominee for governor in Georgia and, if successful in November, would be the first woman governor of the state and the first Black woman governor nationwide.

Including Abrams, women candidates secured 6 of 18 (33.3%) major party nominations for statewide executive offices in Georgia, including 5 of 9 Democrats (55.6% of Democratic nominations) and 1 of 9 Republicans (11.1% of Republican nominations). 5 (4D, 1R) women candidates for statewide executive office were unsuccessful.

  • In addition to Stacey Abrams for governor, women secured Democratic nominations in open seat contests for lieutenant governor (Sarah Amico) and insurance commissioner (Janice Laws).
  • 2 Democratic women will challenge Republican incumbents in contests for public service commissioner representing districts 3 and 5.
  • In the race for district 5 public service commissioner, Republican incumbent Tricia Pridemore will face Democrat Dawn Randolph.
  • Of the 6 statewide executive candidates for office in Georgia, 2 (2D) – Stacey Abrams and Janice Laws – are Black women.

Women candidates secured 3 of 24 (12.5%) major party nominations for U.S. House seats in Georgia that were decided on Tuesday, including 2 of 11 (18.2%) Democratic nominations and 1 of 13 (7.7%) Republican nominations. 2 women advanced to runoffs for Democratic nominations in Georgia’s 6th and 7th congressional districts. 4 (4D) women House candidates were defeated in their primary bids.

  • 2 Democratic women nominees will challenge Republican incumbents in districts deemed solidly Republican by Cook Political Report, including:
    • Lisa Ring (GA-01)
    • Tabitha Johnson-Green (GA-10)
  • Republican incumbent Karen Handel was unopposed in her primary. She will compete for re-election in the 6th congressional district, a district expected to lean Republican by Cook Political Report. Depending on the results of the Democratic runoff, she could face Lucy McBath in a woman v. woman general election contest this fall.
  • Of the 5 women who advanced in Georgia’s House contests, 2 (2D) – Tabitha Johnson-Green and Lucy McBath – are Black women.

Kentucky

Women candidates secured 2 of 12 (16.7%) major party nominations for U.S. House seats in Kentucky, including 1 of 6 (16.7%) Democratic nominations and 1 of 6 (16.7%) Republican nominations. 4 (3D, 1R) women House candidates were defeated in their primary bids.

  • Democrat Amy McGrath will challenge Republican incumbent Andy Barr in Kentucky’s 6th congressional district this fall. Cook Political Report currently rates the district as leaning Republican.
    • If successful, McGrath would be the first Democratic woman to ever represent Kentucky in Congress.
  • Republican Vicki Glisson will challenge Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth in Kentucky’s 3rd congressional district this fall. Cook Political Report currently rates the district as solidly Democratic.

There are no statewide contests in Kentucky this year.

Texas Runoffs

Lupe Valdez secured the Democratic nomination for governor, becoming the first Latina woman to ever secure a Democratic party nomination for governor in the United States.[1] She is also the first woman of color to secure a nomination for governor in Texas and will run to become the second woman governor of Texas.

Women candidates secured 6 of 17 (35.3%) major party nominations for the U.S. House that were contested on Texas’ May 22nd runoffs, including 6 of 11 (54.5%) Democratic nominations and 0 of 6 (0%) Republican nominations.

  • 2 Democratic women will compete in open seat contests in TX-03 and TX-06, both rated solidly Republican by Cook Political Report.
  • 4 Democratic women are challengers to Republican incumbents, with 2 running in districts solidly favoring their Republican opponents (TX-25 and TX-31).
    • In TX-23, Gina Ortiz Jones will challenge a vulnerable incumbent in a district rated as lean Republican by Cook Political Report.
    • TX-07, where Lizzie Pannill Fletcher secured the Democratic nomination, is rated as a Republican toss-up.
  • 2 of 6 women nominees selected on Tuesday are women of color, including Latina Jana Lynne Sanchez (TX-06) and Gina Ortiz Jones (TX-23), who identifies as Asian American.

Combined with results from March 5th, 20 of 50 (40%) women candidates for the U.S. House in Texas were successful in securing major party nominations, including 18 Democrats and 2 Republicans. They are 20 of 68 (29.4%) total nominees, 18 of 36 (50%) Democratic nominees, and 2 of 32 (6.3%) Republican nominees competing for U.S. House seats from Texas this fall. Among the women nominees are:

  • 4 Democratic women – including 2 incumbents and 2 non-incumbent Latinas – running in districts strongly favorable to their party;
  • 1 Republican woman – incumbent Kay Granger – running in a district friendly to her re-election;
  • 2 Democratic women running against Republican incumbents in competitive districts; and
  • 13 (12D, 1R) women running in districts that strongly favor their opponents’ party.

 

[1] Sila Calderon served as governor of Puerto Rico, representing the PPD party. Republican Governor Susana Martinez (NM) became the first Latina to win a major party nomination in 2010. She became the first Latina governor in the mainland U.S. in 2011.