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Republican Women Lag in Winning Congressional Primaries

CAWP Takes "A Closer Look" at U.S. House Races over Time

Why are Republican women so scarce in the U.S. House of Representatives compared with their  Democratic counterparts? A new research brief, Primary Problems: Women Candidates in U.S. House Primaries, reports that GOP women have faced challenges in winning nominations, particularly in the most recent election cycles. 
The analysis is the first in a new series, "A Closer Look," from the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), a unit of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. CAWP will examine questions about American women as candidates, officeholders and voters, identifying explanations that illuminate the data.

"It's not enough to know that women are underrepresented in American politics," notes CAWP director Debbie Walsh. "We need analyses that point toward ways to change the picture."


Despite slight gains in 2012, only 18.3% of current members of Congress are women, and among them, Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than three to one. After identifying possible explanations that have not been borne out by research to date, CAWP focuses on primary win rates for Democratic and Republican women in U.S. House races from 1994 to 2012 in order to better identify the challenges women face in running for and winning seats.


"Closer Look" briefs will be posted on CAWP's website, Future topics will include 2014 electoral outlooks for women governors, women in the U.S. Senate, and women in state legislatures; analyses of the gender gap in voting; and explorations of potential structural influences on women's electoral success, including campaign money, redistricting, and term limits.


For more information, contact:

Kelly Dittmar, Assistant Research Professor ( (732) 932-9384 ext. 237

Debbie Walsh, Director ( (732) 932-9384 ext. 227 

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