An unprecedented 309 women from the two major parties are vying for the congressional seats, a new report says
Now it really is the year of the woman.
A record number of women have filed to run for U.S. House of Representatives seats, according to the Associated Press, which reported its findings Thursday after Virginia released its list of candidates. That means 309 women from the two major parties — a jump from the previous 2012 record of 298 — will vie for House seats. And the number is likely to grow, as many states’ filing periods are still open.
Women on the whole currently hold a dismal 83 U.S. House seats, according to Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics — making up just 19.1% of the 435 total members. Meanwhile, women make up slightly more than half the country.
A majority of these women candidates are Democrats spurred to action by President Trump and the Republican majority’s policies, the AP reported, with many running on platforms powered by family leave, education, workplace equality and health care. In order to regain control of the House, Democrats would need to flip 23 seats.
“After a lifetime of service and taking numerous oaths to support and defend the Constitution, when I saw that our democracy seemed to be under attack, I felt called upon to serve again and felt a responsibility to serve my country again,” Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy pilot running in New Jersey’s 11th district, told the outlet.
Nebraska Democrat Kara Eastman, driven by concerns over health care and environmental protection, also noted her candidacy would be “a great thing for me to show my 16-year-old daughter.”
Republican women are getting in on the action, too: Tiffany Shedd, angling to win an Arizona primary and unseat Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran, told the AP her candidacy came after her husband challenged her to run.
“I hope that we eventually live in a world where there’s no articles written about that because it’s no longer a thing,” Shedd said.
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