2014 Expected to Bring More Female Governors

October 22, 2013

2012 was a banner year for women in Congress, ushering in a record-high number of women to the House and Senate.

Next year may be an equally good year for female governors.

Thirty-six states will hold governor’s elections next year, and Democrats have top female recruits in at least five states who are poised to be their party’s nominee and competitive in the general election. Coupled with the four female governors who are running for reelection – three Republicans and one Democrat – observers say 2014 could see gains for women as states’ top executives.

“This is a year of opportunity at the gubernatorial level,” said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University. “I think that there has been increasingly more and more attention paid to the issue of women in politics … there is some real potential here for growth.”

While women have made huge gains in the House and Senate – there are a record number of women in the 113th Congress – they’ve had more trouble breaking into governorships. The record number of women holding governor’s mansions at one time is nine, in both 2004 and 2007.

Currently, there are five: Republicans Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Jan Brewer of Arizona, Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, and Democrat Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire.

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