November 28, 2018
A newsletter to keep you informed about all things women and politics from the Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University.

Latest Numbers from the 2018 Midterms 
It's been two weeks since Election Day 2018, and our data team has cracked open their spreadsheets to reveal the latest updates on this year's record-smashing results:
  • At least 126 (106D, 20R) women will serve in the 116th Congress, a new record.
  • A record 102 (89D, 13R) women will serve in the U.S. House.
  • 24 (17D, 7R) women will serve in the U.S. Senate, also a record.
  • A record 43 (42D, 1R) women of color will serve in the U.S. House.
  • Next year will see the largest freshman class of women in the U.S. House of Representatives ever, finally topping a record set in 1992. 36 women will enter the House for the first time next year, but, emblematic of the Republican Party's larger problems with women candidates in 2018, the incoming class of new House legislators will include only a single GOP woman, West Virginia's Carol Miller.
  • Nine women will serve as governors around the country, matching the previous record.
  • 56 (32D, 23R, 1NP) women were elected to other statewide executive offices this year.
  • At least 2,046 (1,383D, 644R, 11NP, 4I, 4P) women will serve in state legislative offices around the country, topping the previous record of 1,879.
Teach a Girl to Lead TM Set to Have a Busy Spring 
Among those 102 House members, 23 Senators, 9 governors, and 2,046 women set to serve in state legislatures next year so far, 614 women were elected as non-incumbents, and that means CAWP's  Teach a Girl to Lead TM   ( TAG ) initiative will have a lot going on next year. Among its other programs, TAG partners with the Hess Foundation and The Honorable Constance H. Williams, as well as Comcast NBCUniversal, to send copies of the children's book Grace for President to each congresswoman, governor, and state legislature member and encourages them to visit a school in their district and read the book with students. We're going to be sending a lot of books next year.

Teach a Girl to Lead TM provides activities, curriculum guides, field trip plans, and other resources to help young people rethink leadership and challenge cultural preconceptions about what leaders should look like. To learn more about TAG, follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and bookmark the TAG site.
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CAWP Co-Hosts Latinas Lead Event
Attendees with Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez
Two weeks ago, Latina state legislators braved a late-fall snowstorm to attend the inaugural Latinas Lead academy of the National Hispanic Caucus of State Legislators, hosted by CAWP on campus at Rutgers University. Participants gathered to learn strategies to ensure that incumbent Latina legislators have the tools they need to reach leadership positions within their legislatures and higher office through campaign training, leadership development and public policy education, as well as strategizing ways to boost the number of Latina state legislators nationwide. Sessions at the three-day event taught strategies for social media, marketing, branding, and communications, how to build leadership and advance policy agendas, and the advantages of disparate leadership styles. On Saturday, U.S. Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez spoke to participants about the need to bring more Latinas into leadership positions and told anecdotes from her own political history, including how she first came into Congress as a young Latina challenging a long-serving New York City incumbent Democrat in a primary.
CAWP Co-Sponsors Washington Post Live Event "A New Era of Women in Politics"

The week following the election, CAWP, along with our partners at the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, co-sponsored a Washington Post Live event that delved into women's role in the 2018 midterms. In the first of two panels, CAWP scholar Kelly Dittmar joined a panel of fellow analysts and activists in discussing the successes of 2018, the obstacles that women had to overcome to make these election results possible, and what this portends for women and American politics moving forward. The second panel hosted five newly-elected Democratic women, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Veronica Escobar, Chrissy Houlahan, and Jennifer Wexton to talk about their campaigns, how women's candidacies propelled a partisan shift in the U.S. House, and what their presence in Congress will mean in 2019. To watch the event, or a collection of short clips, visit the event page on the Post Live site.


Next year, only a single woman will enter the 116th Congress as a freshman legislator from the Republican Party. The number of women in the GOP caucus will dwindle by as many as 10 representatives. Even as the 2018 midterms saw a record number of women elected to the House, those victories were utterly lopsided, and many news organizations picked up on this trend in the weeks following the election. The New York Times wrote on the rough election season for GOP women, and spoke to Kelly Dittmar about how even a handful of losses can have an outsize impact on women's representation in the GOP, since their numbers are so small to begin with. CNBC likewise published a story contrasting women's gains overall this year with losses in the GOP women's caucus. Carter Sherman, writing for Vice, interviews women Republicans that ran for office this year, and their frustrations with the party's inability to effectively recruit and support women candidates. The Associated Press also wrote about soul searching going on in the Republican Party following the elections, and how they hope to reform party priorities and infrastructure to solve the problem. In Forbes, filmmaker Wendy Sachs writes about her forthcoming documentary about the 2018 midterms, SURGE, and the difficulties they had in finding Republican women to add to their film. Sachs quotes Debbie Walsh in her piece saying, "If the goal is political parity, it can't happen with only one Party doing that work and getting more women engaged and involved."
Altered States

With women winning more seats in state legislatures than ever before, local news outlets have been writing about how the 2018 midterms have affected local races. In The Charlotte Observer, Jim Morrill wrote about the ways in which activism fed into volunteerism to propel the candidacies and elections of record numbers of women in North Carolina and around the country. The Gloucester Daily Times wrote about the number of women headed to the Massachusetts state legislature next year; the state has set records for its House but not its Senate. Greta Kaul wrote for MinnPost about diversity in Minnesota's local elections, including increasing representation from the state's Hmong community, but also notes that a decline in the number of Republican women in the state legislature led to an overall decline in the total number of women serving. "Long-term, big-picture, we're not going to get anywhere close to parity unless more Republican women run for office," CAWP's Jean Sinzdak tells Kaul, "and the Republican party makes a real effort at recruiting them." Vermont also will see the number of women serving in its legislature decline this year, as Seven Days reports; Vermont is currently well-placed among the states for women's representation in its legislature. The Associated Press, meanwhile, spoke to Debbie Walsh for an overview of how women fared in state legislative races around the country. Walsh noted the strong gains this year before leaving readers with a cliffhanger: "The only question that remains is whether 2018 was a one-off or a new norm." Tantalizing!
Pelosi Power Play

With the Democratic Party having been swept back into power in the 2018 midterms, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is positioned to once again assume the House speakership. Pelosi, however, remains a fixture in attack ads and messaging that target Democratic candidates, and the matter of her popularity has blossomed into a challenge to her leadership. Democratic candidates were repeatedly quizzed throughout the midterms as to whether they would support Pelosi, while the leadership positions of Mitch McConnell, Chuck Schumer, and (Paul Ryan's chosen successor) Kevin McCarthy went largely uninvestigated. These pledges, or withholdings, of support led to a coalition of Democratic House members, as reported in The Washington Post , releasing a letter opposing her leadership. The New Yorker  writes about the rudderlessness of the challenge, as no candidate has emerged to run against Pelosi. Writing about the power struggle for CNN , Harry Enten notes that both in terms of electoral success and ideological fit, Pelosi actually seems like a good fit for the Democratic Party in 2018. For TIME , Alana Abramson spoke to Debbie Walsh about whether the opposition to Pelosi was a referendum on gender, and Walsh noted disparities in the way Pelosi was treated, "I think this is what women who try to attain and who do attain really high level leadership positions come up against. It seems that women are more likely to be victimized by this than men in leadership. ... [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer did not do as well with the Democratic Party in his chamber but there is no problem." The failure to produce any candidate for this opposition to Pelosi to coalesce around has led her opponents to begin softening towards her, according to The New York Times.   With today's vote in the Democratic Caucus confirming her nomination, it seems extremely likely that Nancy Pelosi, the nation's first woman Speaker of the House, will grab the gavel once again.

Center for American Women and Politics
Eagleton Institute of Politics
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