20180608 women primaries election 2018 POLITICS
CNN  — 

As we pointed out last month and back in May, more women are running this year in congressional races than ever before, and while it is already a record-breaking election in that regard, their chances of making gains in Congress are less sure.

Primaries in a handful of states are still to come, but most of the November ballots are set, so here’s an updated look at how the nation’s female aspiring politicians have fared so far.

A total of 229 women have qualified for the November ballot in House or Senate races – 167 Democrats, 50 Republicans, eight independents, three Libertarians and one Green Party candidate, according to an analysis of election results along with CNN’s Key Race ratings.

While there is a clear opportunity for women to make historic gains in Congress, many of them are running in competitive districts or districts that solidly lean toward the other party.


Of the women now on November House ballots, 154 are Democrats and 44 are Republicans. Among the Democrats, 64 are running in districts CNN rates as Solid Republican (that’s 42% of Democratic women currently qualified for November US House elections). Over one-third of the Democrats are running in Solid Democratic districts. There are 60 Democratic and 15 Republican women in Lean, Likely or Solid territory for their parties in the House.

In addition, there are 46 women running against women in 23 House races. The other 159 women running for House seats will be competing against men.

Democratic female incumbents began their elections in a strong position. Currently, all 44 of those who have won their primaries are running in Solid Democratic districts. Still, there are more Democratic women running in Solid Republican districts than in Solid Democratic districts.

Similarly, there are more Republican women running in House districts rated Solid Democratic by CNN than in Solid Republican districts. In fact, exactly half of all Republican women who will appear on House November ballots so far are running are in Solid Democratic districts.

Related: CNN’s Key Race ratings

Just eight of the Republican women on November House ballots so far are in safe Solid Republican territory, unsurprising given the GOP already has a majority of districts around the country. Every single Republican woman running as a challenger to a Democratic incumbent (as opposed to running for an open seat) is in a district rated as Solid Democratic by CNN.

There are 27 open races featuring Democratic women (races with no incumbents) and 10 of these are rated as Solid Republican by CNN. Eight of these open seats are rated as Solid Democratic, an encouraging sign for the women reaching Congress. Also in open races for Democratic House nominees are two Likely/Lean Republican seats, six Likely/Lean Democratic districts and one Toss Up race.

For Republican women running in open seats, the story is slightly different, with no Republican women on the ballot in Solid Republican seats. Four of the 11 open races with Republican women running in the House are rated by CNN as Solid Democratic.


Currently, 13 Democratic women and six Republican women have won their Senate primaries. The Democrats are spread across race types, with two in Solid Republican races, five in Solid Democratic races, three in Likely/Lean Democratic races and three in Toss Up races. The Toss Up states for the Senate with Democratic women running are Missouri (Claire McCaskill), Nevada (Jacky Rosen) and North Dakota (Heidi Heitkamp). Of the six Republican women who have made it to the November ballot, one is in a Solid Republican race, one is in a Likely Republican race, two are in Likely/Lean Democratic races and two are in Solid Democratic races.


There are 12 women running for governor in November so far, nine Democrats and three Republicans. There are three challenge races where women are running and both are Democrats challenging Republican male incumbents: Lupe Valdez in Texas and Christine Hallquist in Vermont.

Correction: This story has been updated to reflect GOP primary results in Kansas. Democrat Laura Kelly is no longer challenging an incumbent there. The number of women running for House seats against men has also been updated.

CNN’s Annie Grayer and Alison Main contributed to this report.