Women Running For Governor Are Already Breaking Records In 2018 Primaries

The number of women in governor's mansions could double this year.

Women are continuing to show the strength of their campaigns in the 2018 primary elections. This year has already broken the record for the number of female candidates who won governor's nominations, buoyed by the recent victory of New Hampshire's Molly Kelly

Democratic voters selected Kelly as the party's nominee for New Hampshire governor on Tuesday, pitting her against Republican Gov. Chris Sununu. Her selection brings the total number of women who won their respective nominations up to 15. Considering only six states currently have women occupying their governor's mansions, the advance of these female candidates to general election could mean major change in gubernatorial representation. 

Kelly's path to governorship will likely be challenging, as Sununu is one of the most popular governors in the country, according to the New York Times. But her victory in the primaries highlights the way many localities have gone full-steam ahead in their support of female candidates this year. 


Kelly is only the latest in a line of women candidates across the country who have won a nomination for governor this year. In May, Georgia's Stacey Abrams made headlines for her victory in the Democratic primary, which puts her on path to make history as the nation's first African-American woman to become governor. In August, Vermont's Christine Hallquist also made history as the first transgender person to ever win a major political party's nomination for governor. 

Other states, including Michigan, Texas, Idaho, Kansas, New Mexico, South Dakota, Maine, and Texas, have also sent women non-incumbent candidates to the general gubernatorial race. Meanwhile, states like Oregon and Alabama have advanced several women seeking re-election in the governorship. Some states, including New York and Rhode Island, are still awaiting the results of their primaries this week. 

All of the women who earn a nomination — including the 15 already entering the general gubernatorial race — still have to face off against their opponents in the November midterms. But Politico is already predicting voters could see substantial gains among women in gubernatorial races.

If they are elected, it could mean significant change for the governor's class — not only in overall women's representation, but also in challenging the lack of diversity in governor's races across the United States. 

Cover image via Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com.


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