With over 300 filed to run, the Associated Press reports that the number of women running for the US House of Representatives in the 2018 elections is at a record high.
The previous record, set in 2012, was 298 women. This year, the number has risen to 309, which, as reported by the National Public Radio (NPR), is a 90 percent increase in the number of women running in comparison to the elections in 2016. The already record-setting number was hit on April 6, when 29 states passed a filing deadline and were able to certify candidacies, according to the Associated Press.
“We’ve never seen anything like this. Ever seen anything like this,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, to NPR. EMILY’s List is a committee that works to recruit pro-choice women to run for office as Democrats.
The primary issues that these women have focused on so far in their races include healthcare, family and child care, education and equality in the workplace.
“…In politics, I think what you’re seeing is enormous frustration among women,” said Jennifer Duffy, a senior editor at Cook Political Report, in an interview with Politico. Duffy has spent 30 years studying women who run for offices in gubernatorial or Senate races. “I think it’s frustration that some of the biggest issues in our country, and some of the issues that are very important to women, are not being solved.”
Of the women running for the House, 231 are running as members of the Democratic Party and 78 are Republicans. Many people such as Schriock believe that the influx of women running in the Democratic Party is a response to the election and policies of President Donald Trump.
“I think it’s really being driven on the Democratic side,” said Deborah Walsh, director at Rutgers University’s Center for American Women and Politics. “I think the energy and the excitement and the determination, not just to run but also in terms of who’s going to show up to vote, right now, that’s on the side of the Democrats.”
On the other side of the aisle, Missy Shorey of Maggie’s List, a committee that strives to help promote the election of conservative women, feels that she and other conservative women are being excluded from the narrative.
“For so many of those marches, conservatives are just not included. We’re not invited,” said Shorey, referring to protests such as the Women’s March. “In fact, we’re disinvited sometimes. That’s fine, if that’s the way the left wants [us] to be treated. But ignore us at your own peril.”
Despite this, both parties have optimistic views about the upcoming elections. As of now, four out of five members of the US House are men. This number is unlikely to change too drastically, as these women will still have to race against the 1,103 men who have filed to run, a number that has also risen this year.
“What has been holding us back when it comes to women’s representation, in Congress in particular, is we haven’t seen enough of an increase in women running,” said Walsh. “We’ve always been saying we need more women to run. And we’re already seeing that in Texas.”