First Time Women Candidates Poised to Shake Up State Legislatures

  • Nov 1, 2018
  • Emerge Staff


November 1, 2018

Danielle Noel


Washington, D.C.– First time women candidates are gaining momentum with just one week until Election Day. These victories could reshape state legislatures and have the potential to create Democratic majorities, as well as female majorities, in states like Nevada, Maine and Colorado.

Emerge America, which recruits, trains and provides a powerful network for Democratic women across the country who are interested in running for office, has more than 560 candidates running for office nationwide and close to 300 are up for seats in state legislatures. Additionally, more than 60 percent of state legislative candidates are running for the first time.

On Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 9 a.m. ET, Emerge America will hold a press call to talk about what trends came out of the 2018 election, including the number of first-time candidates and state legislature seats that were flipped in the election. Details to follow.

“Democratic women are motivated. After the 2016 election, they stepped up in record numbers to run for office. They want to solve critical problems that our communities are facing, and are running to do something not be somebody,” said Andrea Dew Steele, President and Founder of Emerge America. “Women running for office this year are part of a movement that is sweeping the country. This is not a wave that is going to crash and die out. This year marks the beginning of  something that is much larger and is going to change the face of politics in this country long into the future.”

According to the National Council of State Legislatures, there are 10,809 candidates currently running in 6,069 state legislative races this year. In 2016, 36 percent of all legislative races were unopposed, but this year that number decreased to 28 percent. There are 3,564 women running in these races, a 28 percent increase over 2016.

In Wisconsin, 28 Emerge alumnae are running for the state legislature, Congress and local offices, often challenging long-time Republican incumbents for the first time in several election cycles. Learn more here.

“We invest in women at the local and state level not only because they have the power to create policy changes that matter, but also because we need to fill the political pipeline to Congress and the White House,” said Steele. “We all win when women have a seat at the table and when our Democracy reflects the diversity of this country.”

For more information on Emerge America, visit: