July 09, 2019
From the nation's leading source on all things women and politics.

Debate Round-up
In our last newsletter , we previewed the first Democratic primary debate with watching guides and a Washington Post op-ed about how gender would impact the debates, for both the women and the men running for president. That debate is in the history books, with more than one woman participating in a presidential primary debate for the first time ever. Over two nights, six women presented their presidential vision for the country and sparred with the other contenders for the nomination. At least two women, Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, have seen their polls improve following impressive debate performances.

The day after the second debate, CAWP and Vox collaborated on an article in which political experts of various backgrounds discussed the ways in which increased gender, racial, and LGBTQ diversity in the Democratic debate altered its substance and style, with CAWP scholar Kelly Dittmar writing, "this week's Democratic debates suggested that the white men in the race will be forced to confront their privilege more directly than they have in past presidential campaigns." Dittmar also talked to Bustle about the limitations of a tightly timed, generalized debate with multiple candidates, and she suggested moving towards debates themed on specific policy areas. CAWP Director Debbie Walsh spoke to the AP about the debates and how the women running for office are puncturing the illusion of "electability." For The Palm Beach Post's post-debate coverage, Dittmar remarked on the symbolism of long stretches of debate time focused on women and people of color, and she also provided commentary on the debate to both WHYY and The San Francisco Chronicle.

The first primary debates of the 2020 cycle provided a new way of looking at presidential politics, but it's only just beginning. Start preparing for the second debate of the season on July 30th and 31st by re-reading our debate-watching guide
Record Number of Candidates in Virginia Legislative Races
2020 is so far away but 2019 is right now, and right now a record number of women have advanced to the general election in Virginia General Assembly races. This November, 85 women (65D; 20R) will compete in the general election for seats in the Virginia General Assembly. In the Virginia Senate, 23 women (17D; 6R) will be on the general election ballot, while 62 women (48D; 14R) are running for seats in the House of Delegates; these are record levels in both chambers of the Virginia legislature.

Of the 85 women who will be on the ballot this fall, 33 (26D; 7R) are incumbents, 12 (7D; 5R) are running as challengers, and 40 (32D; 8R) are contesting open seats.
In years when both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly were up for elections, the previous record for women general election candidates was 45 (36D, 9R), set in 2015. The record for women candidates for the Virginia Senate was 14, first set in 2007 and again in 2015, while the previous record for House of Delegates candidates was 52, set in 2017 when there were no Virginia Senate elections.

Currently, there are 37 (29D, 8R) women in the Virginia legislature, making up 26.4% of all members. In the Senate, women hold 10 (7D, 3R) seats, or 25%, while in the House, women hold 27 (22D, 5R) seats, or 27%. Virginia ranks 32nd among the 50 states in our rankings for women's representation in state legislatures.

Learn more about the history and current state of women's representation in Virginia at its state fact sheet on the CAWP website.
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New Analysis from The Gender Policy Report
Our friends at The Gender Policy Report at the University of Minnesota have published insights gleaned from the 2018 elections. Scholars Julie Dolan of Macalester College and Paru Shah of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee interviewed 55 candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterms about their experiences running for office for their piece, Thinking of Running in 2020? Lessons Learned from Women who Ran for Congress in 2018. Dolan and Shah conclude that potential candidates should ignore skepticism from voters and insiders, they should be prepared to build a base of support outside of traditional party structures, their success hinges on creating a team and starting fundraising early, and, finally, that women push past their own trepidation about running for office and just do it.

More from the Presidential Campaign
Debbie Walsh spoke to Vogue about the women running in 2020, referencing the ways that the candidates will have to overcome lingering defeatist attitudes about women seeking power. The New York Times style section took a look at eight of the Democratic candidates, women and men, and how they use wardrobe and styling to build a brand and communicate with voters. For The Times-Picayune/New Orleans Advocate , Tyler Bridges wrote about the appearance of seven Democratic candidates at NOLA's Essence Fest, using CAWP data to describe how critical outreach to Black women voters has become in the Democratic primary.

History Lesson
Politico Magazine reached out to scholars, advocates, and experts for a story about who should be included in a modern Mount Rushmore, and Kelly Dittmar contributed a piece about the revolutionary advancements made by Fannie Lou Hamer in the fight for equal political participation. Meanwhile, The Atlantic wrote about the period between women winning the right to vote and attaining sufficient political representation to begin influencing policy debates, speaking to CAWP scholar Susan J. Carroll for context on the direct policy impacts of greater women's representation.
Grab Bag 
Debbie Walsh appeared on State of Affairs with Steve Adubato to discuss women's political representation in New Jersey and how the #MeToo movement has impacted politics. Suzanne Moore, who helps organize Ready to Run ® Delaware with our partner organization, Delaware EraNow, published an op-ed on Delaware Online alongside former state senators Karen Peterson and Liane Sorenson about the need to continue improving women's political representation through training and recruitment efforts. Finally, The New York Times writes about tonight's run-off GOP primary election in North Carolina's 3rd congressional district and how the race between Joan Perry and Greg Murphy has become a test-case for a party deciding between fostering women and minority talent and retaining the laissez faire posture that contributed to a decline in GOP women's congressional representation in 2018. If Perry wins the run-off and goes on to win the special election in September, she will become just the 14th woman in the Republican House caucus.
CAWP Calendar

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