June 21, 2022

From the nation's leading source on all things women and politics.

News & Notes will take a break for the July 4th holiday and will return on July 19th. Have a wonderful Independence Day!

New Records for Women in Congress 

Recent special elections for vacant U.S. House seats in California and Texas are setting new records for women in Congress. Representative Connie Conway (pictured here during her swearing-in) won a special election for California’s 22nd congressional district on June 7th; she was sworn in on June 14th. She is not running for this seat in the regular elections in November. Meanwhile, Mayra Flores won the special election in Texas’ 34th congressional district; she is expected to be sworn in tonight. She also won the primary election for the newly-redrawn 34th district in March and will face incumbent Representative Vicente Gonzalez Jr. (currently serving in the TX-15 district) in the general election for this seat in November. 

When Flores is sworn in, the following congressional records will be set: 

  • Women in Congress (147) 
  • Women in the U.S. House (123) 
  • Republican women in Congress (41) 
  • Republican women in the U.S. House (33) 
  • Latinas in Congress (15) 
  • Latinas in the U.S. House (14) 

These counts do not include four women, including one Latina, who serve as non-voting delegates.

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Results from Recent Primaries

Over the past two weeks, primaries were held in nearly a dozen states. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Women are the majority of U.S. House nominees in Iowa (62.5%) and New Mexico (83.3%), and women will be at least 50% of U.S. House nominees in Montana in November.
  • The sole woman candidate in South Dakota – State Representative Taffy Howard (R) – was unsuccessful in her Republican primary challenge to incumbent Representative Dusty Johnson (R) for South Dakota’s at-large U.S. House seat, ensuring that South Dakota will remain a state with no women in its congressional delegation in 2023.
  • In Mississippi, Dianne Black (D) won the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Representative Trent Kelly (R) in MS-01. She would be the first woman to serve in the U.S. House from Mississippi as well as the first Black woman to represent Mississippi in Congress.
  • In Montana, Monica Tranel (D) won the Democratic nomination for the open-seat U.S. House contest in MT-01. No woman has served in the U.S. Congress from Montana since 1943, when the first woman in Congress, Jeanette Rankin, left Congress following her second (non-consecutive) term.
  • In Iowa, Diedre DeJear (D) has won the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Governor Kim Reynolds (R) in November. DeJear is just the second Black woman to win a major-party nomination for governor in the U.S. The first was Stacey Abrams, who won the Democratic nomination for governor of Georgia in both 2018 and 2022. If elected, DeJear would be the first Democratic woman, first Black woman, and the first woman of color governor of Iowa, as well as the first Black woman governor in the U.S.
  • Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R) advanced in the special primary election held on June 11th for Alaska’s at-large congressional district; she will compete in an August 16th general election. Should she win, Palin would become the first woman elected to the U.S. House from Alaska. She will also compete on the August 16th ballot to advance to the November 2022 election for a full term for the same seat.

Find all the results for women candidates in the June 7th and June 14th primaries on the CAWP Election Analysis page and stay tuned to CAWP on Twitter tonight for results and analysis from today’s primary contests in Virginia.

NEW Leadership® Returns In Person!

The Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) was thrilled to host its first in-person Susan N. Wilson NEW Leadership® New Jersey summer institute since 2019. Nineteen students from around New Jersey participated in the six-day residential summer institute, where they received hands-on public leadership training. Throughout the week, students learned from political practitioners, activists, experts, and scholars and gained new leadership skills while deepening their knowledge of politics.

New Jersey Assistant Secretary of State Lauren Zyriek Enriquez, NEW Leadership® New Jersey class of 2003, received this year’s Hazel Frank Gluck award, which is presented to acknowledge the accomplishments of NEW Leadership® New Jersey alumnae who have emerged as inspiring advocates, candidates, and community leaders. In her keynote address, New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way encouraged students to find their pathway to public leadership despite any obstacles they may encounter. Secretary Way, the incoming President of the National Association of Secretaries of State, surprised CAWP’s director, Debbie Walsh with the President’s Award from the National Association of Secretaries of State, in recognition of her “unwavering dedication to democracy and many years of service to the State of New Jersey.”

One student, in her post-NEWL evaluation, writes “NEWL NJ changed my thinking on politics and government in so many ways, particularly about the fact that in order to have women leaders, women need to be involved in the political process, they have to make their voices heard and to follow their passion in politics.” 

We couldn’t agree more.

Nine on IX

This month marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of gender in any educational program that receives federal funding, and Rutgers University is marking the moment with voices from around the Rutgers community celebrating the progress derived from Title IX. CAWP Associate Director Jean Sinzdak joined the project, Nine on IX, to talk about the political history of Title IX, as well as it’s enduring impact. “When Title IX passed in 1972, Patsy Mink, the legislation’s first author, was one of 13 women serving in the 535 seats in the U.S. Congress. She also was the first Asian American woman and the first woman of color elected to Congress,” writes Sinzdak. “Today, a record 146 women serve in Congress, including a record number of women of color. Title IX did more than open up higher education and athletics for women: It also showcased the power of women’s leadership to make a difference for gender equity. It’s fitting that Title IX was later renamed the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act, a powerful symbol that representation matters.”

Read her full piece, as well as other pieces on Title IX’s impact on labor, health care, LGBTQ+ rights, Black women in sports, and more, on the Nine on IX site

Welcome to the Newest Member of the CAWP Team! 

We’re pleased to announce the newest member of the CAWP team, Thu Nguyen, who joins our data team as a research and administrative assistant. Thu is a recent graduate of the Honors College at Rutgers University–Camden, where she led Iota Iota Iota, a National Women’s Studies Honor Society promoting feminist values, diversity, and egalitarianism. Thu has already worked with CAWP on a part-time basis supporting our research teams, so we’re very delighted to welcome her on in a regular full-time position assisting in managing our research projects and supporting CAWP’s research translation work. 

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