Sunday, December 4, 2022

How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections?

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After a pair of triumphant elections for women and people of color in American politics, in which records were smashed in 2018 and then broken again in 2020, diverse candidates made further progress this year.

More women than ever have been nominated for governorships and state legislatures. More Senate nominees are Black. More House nominees are openly L.G.B.T.Q., and more are also Hispanic women.

But there has also been some backsliding: The number of women nominated for Congress, for example, has declined from a 2020 peak.

There remains a significant partisan divide, with Democrats more likely than Republicans to nominate people who differ from the historical norm of straight, white men. And while both parties’ candidate fields are more diverse than before 2018, they are still far from accurate reflections of the American population.

The House of Representatives

There are at least 403 people of color, women or nonbinary candidates running for seats in the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s midterm elections.



Democrat

Republican

White

men

women

nonbinary

Black

men

women

Hispanic

men

women

Asian

men

women

Native American

men

women

Other and multiple race

men

women


A record 37 candidates are women who are Hispanic or Latina, including people who also identify with a second ethnic or racial group.



Democrat

Hispanic women

Republican

Calif. 31

Grace Napolitano

Beryl TV CA-P-H-35-2022-06-07__torres-n-us-house-35-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 35

Norma Torres

Beryl TV CA-P-H-38-2022-06-07__sanchez-l-us-house-38-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 38

Linda Sánchez

Beryl TV CA-P-H-44-2022-06-07__barragan-n-us-house-44-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 44

Nanette Barragán

Beryl TV NM-D-H-3-2022-06-07__leger_fernandez-t-us-house-3-nm How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.M. 3

Teresa Fernández

Beryl TV NY-D-H-7-2022-08-23__velazquez-n-us-house-7-ny How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.Y. 7

Nydia M. Velázquez

Beryl TV NY-D-H-14-2022-08-23__ocasiocortez-a-us-house-14-ny How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.Y. 14

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Beryl TV TX-D-H-16-2022-03-01__escobar-v-us-house-16-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 16

Veronica Escobar

Beryl TV TX-D-H-29-2022-03-01__garcia-s-us-house-29-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 29

Sylvia Garcia

Beryl TV CA-P-H-29-2022-06-07__duenas-a-us-house-29-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 29

Angélica Dueñas

Beryl TV CO-D-H-8-2022-06-28__caraveo-y-us-house-8-co How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Colo. 8

Yadira Caraveo

Beryl TV FL-D-H-21-2022-08-23__balderramos_robinson-c-us-house-21-fl How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Fla. 21

Corinna Balderramos Robinson

Beryl TV FL-D-H-27-2022-08-23__taddeo-a-us-house-27-fl How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Fla. 27

Annette Taddeo

Beryl TV IL-D-H-3-2022-06-28__ramirez-d-us-house-3-il How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ill. 3

Delia Ramirez

Beryl TV OR-D-H-6-2022-05-17__salinas-a-us-house-6-or How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ore. 6

Andrea Salinas

Beryl TV PA-D-H-10-2022-05-17__daniels-s-us-house-10-pa How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Pa. 10

Shamaine Daniels

Beryl TV TX-D-H-10-2022-03-01__nuno-l-us-house-10-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 10

Linda Nuno

Beryl TV TX-D-H-15-2022-05-24__vallejo-m-us-house-15-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 15

Michelle Vallejo

Beryl TV TX-D-H-21-2022-05-24__zapata-c-us-house-21-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 21

Claudia Zapata

Beryl TV WA-P-H-3-2022-08-02__perez-m-us-house-3-wa How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Wash. 3

Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez

Beryl TV FL-R-H-27-2022-08-23__salazar-m-us-house-27-fl How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Fla. 27

María Salazar

Beryl TV NY-conservative-H-11-2022-08-23__malliotakis-n-us-house-11-ny How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.Y. 11

Nicole Malliotakis

Beryl TV TX-G-H-34-2022-06-14__flores-m-us-house-34-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 34

Mayra Flores

Beryl TV CA-P-H-32-2022-06-07__volotzky-l-us-house-32-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 32

Lucie Volotzky

Beryl TV FL-R-H-13-2022-08-23__luna-a-us-house-13-fl How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Fla. 13

Anna Paulina Luna

Beryl TV IL-R-H-11-2022-06-28__lauf-c-us-house-11-il How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ill. 11

Catalina Lauf

Beryl TV MD-R-H-3-2022-07-19__morgan-y-us-house-3-md How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Md. 3

Yuripzy Morgan

Beryl TV MA-R-H-5-2022-09-06__colarusso-c-us-house-5-ma How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Mass. 5

Caroline Colarusso

Beryl TV NM-R-H-1-2022-06-07__garcia_holmes-m-us-house-1-nm How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.M. 1

Michelle Garcia Holmes

Beryl TV NM-R-H-3-2022-06-07__martinez_johnson-a-us-house-3-nm How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.M. 3

Alexis Martinez Johnson

Beryl TV OR-R-H-5-2022-05-17__chavezderemer-l-us-house-5-or How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ore. 5

Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Beryl TV TX-R-H-15-2022-03-01__de_la_cruz-m-us-house-15-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 15

Monica De La Cruz

Beryl TV TX-R-H-16-2022-03-01__armendarizjackson-i-us-house-16-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 16

Irene Armendariz-Jackson

Beryl TV TX-R-H-18-2022-03-01__montiel-c-us-house-18-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 18

Carmen Maria Montiel

Beryl TV TX-R-H-28-2022-05-24__garcia-c-us-house-28-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 28

Cassy Garcia

Beryl TV TX-R-H-37-2022-05-24__garcia_sharon-j-us-house-37-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 37

Jenny Garcia Sharon

Beryl TV VA-R-H-7-2022-06-21__vega-y-us-house-7-va How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Va. 7

Yesli Vega


And there are 33 openly gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or gender-nonconforming candidates, a number that has nearly doubled since the 2018 elections, according to the L.G.B.T.Q. Victory Fund.



Democrat

L.G.B.T.Q. candidates

Republican

Beryl TV CA-P-H-39-2022-06-07__takano-m-us-house-39-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 39

Mark Takano

Beryl TV KS-D-H-3-2022-08-02__davids-s-us-house-3-ks How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Kan. 3

Sharice Davids

Beryl TV MN-D-H-2-2022-08-09__craig-a-us-house-2-mn How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Minn. 2

Angie Craig

Beryl TV NH-D-H-1-2022-09-13__pappas-c-us-house-1-nh How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.H. 1

Chris Pappas

Beryl TV NY-D-H-15-2022-08-23__torres-r-us-house-15-ny How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.Y. 15

Ritchie Torres

Beryl TV NY-D-H-17-2022-08-23__maloney-s-us-house-17-ny How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.Y. 17

Sean Patrick Maloney

Beryl TV RI-D-H-1-2022-09-13__cicilline-d-us-house-1-ri How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

R.I. 1

David Cicilline

Beryl TV WI-D-H-2-2022-08-09__pocan-m-us-house-2-wi How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Wis. 2

Mark Pocan

Beryl TV CA-P-H-23-2022-06-07__marshall-d-us-house-23-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 23

Derek Marshall

Beryl TV CA-P-H-30-2022-06-07__pudlo-g-us-house-30-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 30

G. “Maebe A. Girl” Pudlo

Beryl TV CA-P-H-34-2022-06-07__kim-d-us-house-34-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 34

David Kim

Beryl TV CA-P-H-41-2022-06-07__rollins-w-us-house-41-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 41

Will Rollins

Beryl TV CA-P-H-42-2022-06-07__garcia-r-us-house-42-ca How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Calif. 42

Robert Garcia

Beryl TV FL-D-H-1-2022-08-23__jones-r-us-house-1-fl How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Fla. 1

Rebekah Jones

Beryl TV FL-D-H-12-2022-08-23__walker-k-us-house-12-fl How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Fla. 12

Kimberly Walker

Beryl TV GA-G-H-11-2022-11-08__daza-a-us-house-11-ga How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ga. 11

Antonio Daza

Beryl TV IL-D-H-17-2022-06-28__sorensen-e-us-house-17-il How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ill. 17

Eric Sorensen

Beryl TV KY-D-H-1-2022-05-17__ausbrooks-j-us-house-1-ky How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ky. 1

Jimmy Ausbrooks

Beryl TV MD-D-H-1-2022-07-19__mizeur-h-us-house-1-md How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Md. 1

Heather Mizeur

Beryl TV NY-D-H-3-2022-08-23__zimmerman-r-us-house-3-ny How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.Y. 3

Robert Zimmerman

Beryl TV NC-D-H-11-2022-05-17__beachferrara-j-us-house-11-nc How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.C. 11

Jasmine Beach-Ferrara

Beryl TV OH-D-H-14-2022-05-03__kilboy-m-us-house-14-oh How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ohio 14

Matt Kilboy

Beryl TV OR-D-H-5-2022-05-17__mcleodskinner-j-us-house-5-or How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ore. 5

Jamie McLeod-Skinner

Beryl TV TN-D-H-4-2022-08-04__steele-w-us-house-4-tn How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Tenn. 4

Wayne Steele

Beryl TV TN-D-H-7-2022-08-04__kelly-o-us-house-7-tn How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Tenn. 7

Odessa Kelly

Beryl TV TX-D-H-17-2022-03-01__woods-m-us-house-17-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 17

Mary Jo Woods

Beryl TV TX-D-H-21-2022-05-24__zapata-c-us-house-21-tx How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Texas 21

Claudia Zapata

Beryl TV UT-D-H-2-2022-06-28__mitchell-n-us-house-2-ut How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Utah 2

Nick Mitchell

Beryl TV VT-D-H-1-2022-08-09__balint-b-us-house-1-vt How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Vt. 1

Becca Balint

Beryl TV WA-P-H-4-2022-08-02__white-d-us-house-4-wa How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Wash. 4

Doug White

Beryl TV WV-D-H-2-2022-05-10__wendell-b-us-house-2-wv How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

W.Va. 2

Barry Wendell

Beryl TV MA-R-H-2-2022-09-06__sossapaquette-j-us-house-2-ma How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Mass. 2

Jeffrey Sossa-Paquette

Beryl TV NY-R-H-3-2022-08-23__santos-g-us-house-3-ny How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.Y. 3

George Santos


The last two election cycles were momentous when it came to women’s representation: The number of Democratic women skyrocketed in 2018, and Republican women had their own breakthrough year in 2020, though their numbers remained much lower than Democrats’.

But this year, both parties nominated fewer women for the House than in 2020.

The numbers are still much higher than historical norms, and whether the decrease in nominees translates into a decrease in women who actually serve will depend on the results of several dozen close races.

“I wouldn’t raise the red flag of, ‘Oh, my gosh, we’re seeing a complete regression in women’s candidacies,’” said Kelly Dittmar, the director of research at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, which compiled comprehensive data about the women nominated this year.

“But at the same time,” Dr. Dittmar said, “in an arena where women are perpetually underrepresented even at record-high years, any drop is significant enough for us to pay attention and say we clearly haven’t cleared the hurdles.”

The Senate

There are at least 31 women and people of color running for Senate.



Democrat

Republican

White

men

women

Black

men

women

Hispanic

men

women

Other and multiple race

men

women


There are 11 Senate candidates who are Black this year. That is as many as have served in the Senate in all of American history.



Democrat

Black candidates

Republican

Beryl TV raphael-warnock-dem-us-senate-ga How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ga.

Raphael Warnock

Beryl TV will-boyd-dem-us-senate-al How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ala.

Will Boyd

Beryl TV natalie-james-dem-us-senate-ar How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ark.

Natalie James

Beryl TV FL-D-S-2022-08-23__demings-v-us-senate-fl How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Fla.

Val Demings

Beryl TV charles-booker-dem-us-senate-ky How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ky.

Charles Booker

Beryl TV cheri-beasley-dem-us-senate-nc How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.C.

Cheri Beasley

Beryl TV krystle-matthews-dem-us-senate-sc How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

S.C.

Krystle Matthews

Beryl TV WI-D-S-2022-08-09__barnes-m-us-senate-wi How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Wis.

Mandela Barnes

Beryl TV tim-scott-gop-us-senate-sc How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

S.C.

Tim Scott

Beryl TV herschel-walker-gop-us-senate-ga How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ga.

Herschel Walker

Beryl TV NY-G-S-2022-11-08__pinion-j-us-senate-ny How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.Y.

Joe Pinion


Comparisons between election years are tricky for the Senate, because only a third of its seats are up for election at a time. But this number stands out.

Of the 11, a record four are Black women, a group not currently represented in the Senate at all. Only two Black women, Carol Moseley Braun and Kamala Harris, have ever been elected to the Senate.

The chances that any of these women will be elected are not high: All four are Democrats running in Republican-leaning states, and only two, Val B. Demings in Florida and Cheri Beasley in North Carolina, are in competitive races.

But looking at the total number of Black candidates, “considering that we’ve really only had less than two handfuls of Black people be elected to the U.S. Senate in American history, to have 11 running and to be their party’s nominee in the state is extraordinary,” said Stefanie Brown James, a co-founder and senior adviser at the Collective PAC, which works to elect Black people to public office. “I think it’s really a testament to how much the bench has shaped up as it relates to Black candidates, and I think it signals, hopefully, a lasting change.”

Advocates who work to increase political representation emphasize that, final outcomes aside, having a more diverse set of nominees provides concrete benefits: It encourages more candidates to run in future elections and sets examples so that those future candidacies do not strike voters as out of the ordinary.

Governors

At least 30 women and people of color are running in governor races.



Democrat

Republican

White

men

women

Black

men

women

Other and multiple race

men

women


There are 25 women nominated for governor — 16 Democrats and nine Republicans. This not only sets a record but is more than double the historical average in midterm election years from 1990 through 2014.



Democrat

Women

Republican

Beryl TV KS-D-G-2022-08-02__kelly-l-governor-ks How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Kan.

Laura Kelly

Beryl TV janet-mills-dem-governor-me How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Maine

Janet Mills

Beryl TV MI-D-G-2022-08-02__whitmer-g-governor-mi How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Mich.

Gretchen Whitmer

Beryl TV michelle-lujan-grisham-dem-governor-nm How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.M.

Michelle Lujan Grisham

Beryl TV NY-D-G-2022-06-28__hochul-k-governor-ny How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

N.Y.

Kathy Hochul

Beryl TV yolanda-flowers-dem-governor-al How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ala.

Yolanda Flowers

Beryl TV AZ-D-G-2022-08-02__hobbs-k-governor-az How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ariz.

Katie Hobbs

Beryl TV stacey-abrams-dem-governor-ga How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ga.

Stacey Abrams

Beryl TV deidre-dejear-dem-governor-ia How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Iowa

Deidre DeJear

Beryl TV MA-D-G-2022-09-06__healey-m-governor-ma How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Mass.

Maura Healey

Beryl TV carol-blood-dem-governor-ne How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Neb.

Carol Blood

Beryl TV nan-whaley-dem-governor-oh How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ohio

Nan Whaley

Beryl TV OK-D-G-2022-06-28__hofmeister-j-governor-ok How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Okla.

Joy Hofmeister

Beryl TV tina-kotek-dem-governor-or How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ore.

Tina Kotek

Beryl TV VT-D-G-2022-08-09__siegel-b-governor-vt How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Vt.

Brenda Siegel

Beryl TV WY-D-G-2022-08-16__livingston-t-governor-wy How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Wyo.

Theresa Livingston

Beryl TV kay-ivey-gop-governor-al How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ala.

Kay Ivey

Beryl TV kim-reynolds-gop-governor-ia How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Iowa

Kim Reynolds

Beryl TV kristi-noem-gop-governor-sd How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

S.D.

Kristi Noem

Beryl TV AZ-R-G-2022-08-02__lake-k-governor-az How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ariz.

Kari Lake

Beryl TV sarah-huckabee-sanders-gop-governor-ar How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ark.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders

Beryl TV CO-R-G-2022-06-28__ganahl-h-governor-co How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Colo.

Heidi Ganahl

Beryl TV MI-R-G-2022-08-02__dixon-t-governor-mi How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Mich.

Tudor Dixon

Beryl TV christine-drazan-gop-governor-or How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ore.

Christine Drazan

Beryl TV RI-R-G-2022-09-13__kalus-a-governor-ri How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

R.I.

Ashley Kalus


There are five Black nominees for governor this year, including a record three Black women.



Democrat

Black candidates

Republican

Beryl TV yolanda-flowers-dem-governor-al How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ala.

Yolanda Flowers

Beryl TV chris-jones-dem-governor-ar How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ark.

Chris Jones

Beryl TV stacey-abrams-dem-governor-ga How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Ga.

Stacey Abrams

Beryl TV deidre-dejear-dem-governor-ia How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Iowa

Deidre DeJear

Beryl TV MD-D-G-2022-07-19__moore-w-governor-md How Diverse Are the Candidates in the Midterm Elections? Politics

Md.

Wes Moore


Before this year, Stacey Abrams in 2018 was the only Black woman ever to receive a major party’s nomination for governor. To this day, none have been elected, and only two Black men have been elected to governorships.

The overall advancements for women are striking. In five states — Alabama, Arizona, Iowa, Michigan and Oregon — the Democratic and Republican candidates for governor are both women. Before this year, there had been only four such races in history.

And, while four L.G.B.T.Q. nominees for governor is not a new record, this year’s nominees include two — Maura Healey in Massachusetts and Tina Kotek in Oregon — who could become the first openly lesbian women elected to a governorship. Voters have previously elected one gay man (Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado, who is up for re-election) and one bisexual woman (Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon, whom Ms. Kotek is hoping to succeed).

Historically, women’s representation in executive offices like governorships has lagged behind their representation in legislative bodies like Congress.

“Voters are more comfortable seeing women being part of a deliberative party as a decision maker, but if she’s going to be essentially the decision maker, voters require a lot more evidence that she’s qualified for the job,” said Amanda Hunter, the executive director of the Barbara Lee Family Foundation, which supports women in politics and has found in its research that voters are more hesitant to elect women to executive roles.

State legislatures

State legislatures often get short shrift in discussions about political diversity, in large part because there is no complete dataset of the demographics of their thousands of members. But, in addition to being enormously important in enacting policies that affect how Americans live and how their elections are run, they serve as pipelines to higher office. This means that diversity, or a lack thereof, in state legislatures can affect diversity in Congress and governorships years later.

The composition of state legislatures is unreflective of the overall population, according to research from New American Leaders, a group that works to involve immigrants and first-generation Americans in politics. This stems from an array of factors, some of which vary by state: Many legislatures are part time and pay very little, for example, making them unrealistic for people who are not wealthy.

But there have been some advances this year. A record 3,614 women are major-party nominees for state legislative seats, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. (Nearly twice as many are Democrats as Republicans.)

And in some states, including Michigan and New York, New American Leaders has identified significant increases in first-generation candidates from 2020 to 2022. Many of these candidates are Black, Hispanic or members of other racial minorities.

The increase in representation in state legislatures in recent years has been “incremental growth, but it is steady growth,” said Ghida Dagher, the president of New American Leaders. “I think people feel a call to action and a call to serve, so they are seeing themselves in the policies that are being pushed forward and the decisions that are made and the budgets that are passed.”

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