Ilhan Omar and Jennifer Zielinski
Omar by Tim Nelson, MPR News | Zielinski courtesy of the campaign
Democrat Ilhan Omar (left) and Republican Jennifer Zielinski are competing to represent Minnesota's 5th congressional district, one of 26 districts nationwide with two major party women running.

Women are running in more than half of all U.S. House races this November

Democratic women hold more than 3-to-1 advantage over Republican women in ballot appearances


Come November 6th, how many women will get a golden ticket to the U.S. House, a chamber that is currently governed by 4/5ths men? The odds of reducing that fraction are bolstered by the unprecedented number of women appearing on the ballot this fall.

Major party women candidates will appear on the ballots for 210 of the 435 districts—or 48% of all U.S. House contests. They include:

  • 52 districts where a Republican woman is running (half of whom are running against a Democratic woman);

  • 184 districts where women are running as Democrats (including the 26 districts where both a Republican and a Democratic woman are on the ballot).


Among women running for the U.S. House, Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 3 to 1

(Hover over a district to see all candidates, with women denoted by *)
For more demographic and voting information about each congressional district, see our Representing US project .


Including third-party candidates brings the total number of districts with women contenders to 234, or 54 percent of all House races. All districts with one or more women appearing on the ballot are shown in the map below. Of note, New York’s northernmost district, the 21st, is the only race where a record four women are competing to be the next congresswoman. Voters will chose between Democrat Tedra Cobb, Green party candidate Lynn Kahn, Working Families Party candidate Katie Wilson (who ran and lost in the Democratic primary), or the incumbent Republican, Elise Stefanik.

Where are women candidates—of any party—running for U.S. House?

(Hover over a district to see all candidates, with women denoted by *)
For more demographic and voting information about each congressional district, see our Representing US project .


In sum, 284 women are vying to represent a congressional district in the 116th Congress. While these are exciting statistics for anyone who believes that more gender parity would serve our country better, the lopsidedness among Democratic and Republican women candidates is dramatic.

Among Republicans, the tally is just 52 women, while Democrats have 185 women seeking to become U.S. Representatives this fall. (Note: One district, Louisiana’s First, has two Democratic women running. In Louisiana all candidates run in the general election, with a runoff held if no candidate wins a majority).

That means more than 3 and a half times more Democratic women are running than Republican women. Whether this speaks to women’s historical and increasing alignment with the Democrat party, little emphasis on grooming qualified Republican women, concern over women’s “electability,” or other intra-party positioning by Republicans, the upshot of this ratio is likely a considerable advantage for Democrats among women voters.

This may amplify the advantage in some of those districts that have more women among potential voters than men, most notably New York’s 8th District, where 56 percent of the electorate are women. In 153 districts, women represent 52 percent or more of the potential voter population, with men accounting for 48 percent or less.

Regardless whether the Republican party’s power-brokers see this as a problem, many Republican voters do not presently. According to a Pew Research survey conducted this past summer, only about one-third of Republicans (and those that lean Republican) agreed there are too few women in high political offices, compared to 8 in 10 Democrats (including leaners) who felt so. This is despite the fact that there are roughly three times as many Democratic women in the current House of Representatives as Republican women.

In sum, 284 women are vying to represent a congressional district in the 116th Congress. While these are exciting statistics for anyone who believes that more gender parity would serve our country better, the lopsidedness among Democratic and Republican women candidates is dramatic.


The Democratic Party has been responding to its voters’ appetites by recruiting and supporting more women for Congress. As The Economist notes, “Among Republicans, the share of non-incumbent nominees this year that are women is a paltry 18%, barely higher than the proportion registered in 2004.” Meanwhile, a record half of all new candidates that Democrats advanced to the fall ballot are women (despite women never exceeding 30 percent of new Democratic candidates previously).

Certainly, no ones asserts that just having a women candidate alone will attract a woman’s vote, as voters are far more complex than that. But a larger slate of women candidates could stoke the fires of enthusiasm and thus, turnout. In the last midterm election in 2014, female voters outnumbered male voters by more than 6 million, and recent political events have galvanized and mobilized many women.

  • Will this translate into more women heading to the polls this fall, and perhaps some independent or once Republican women coming into the Democratic fold?

  • Will Republican women (and men) continue to accept such poor gender parity in their congressional candidates, especially when women represent the majority of voters?

  • And will the forthcoming 116th Congress contain more women Representatives than we’ve ever seen in that institution before? And if so, how might its agenda shift?

As a woman, a voter, and a researcher, I have lots of questions. The November 6th election will provide many answers.

 -Andi (@DataANDInfo


Learn more about the demographics of potential voters, all candidates, and the voting history for all 435 U.S. House districts in our Representing US tools!

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