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Will 2018 be the New “Year of the Woman” in American Politics?

Activated American women are signing up in surprising numbers to run for offices at every level of government in every corner of the country. In the 2018 midterm general elections, 262 women are seeking seats in Congress, up from 181 in 2016, and 42 are on ballots for governor and lieutenant governor, up from just 8 in 2016, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. When women run, they win just as often as their male peers — which means their outsized presence on ballots could make 2018 a historic year for women in electoral politics. But will 2018 outshine 1992, the celebrated “Year of the Woman,” when the number women in Congress doubled?

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TIMELINE: The Movement to Get More Women into U.S. Politics

Led first by luminaries of the women’s movement, a drive to get more women into halls of political power has tackled social obstacles, campaign financing and candidate preparation. A stream of female firsts in U.S. politics has followed, and the number of women in elected offices has grown. But equal representation remains elusive.

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The Forces Fueling a New Wave of 2018 Candidates

For four decades, an expanding cohort of women-led organizations have made it their mission to get more women elected to political offices across the U.S. We spoke with the women at the forefront of that movement today — and asked how they plan to turn a post-Trump surge in female candidacies into a rush of electoral victories in 2018.

Find out what these groups are planning, and join us all year as we follow 15 compelling women candidates around the country running with their support. Their stories are below and at #RunningWomen2018.

Emily's List

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Emily’s List Aims to Seize Its Moment The 2016 electoral loss to Donald Trump was heartbreaking, but angry Democratic women are planning to run for office in numbers not seen before. Here’s how Emily’s List President Stephanie Schriock plans to turn a female candidate surge into an 2018 electoral wave.
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Stacey Abrams If the former Georgia House Democratic leader wins, she would become the country’s first black woman governor and break a Republican "trifecta."
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Chrissy Houlahan Angered by Trump's election, this Pennsylvania business leader and U.S. Navy veteran challenged an incumbent Republican for a seat in the U.S. House. Then he dropped out.
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Michelle Lujan Grisham The New Mexico congresswoman and Hispanic Caucus chair will step down to run for governor. She would become the first Democratic woman of color to lead a state.

Emerge America

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Emerge America is Embracing a 50-State Strategy Amid a surge in blue activism this year, Andrea Dew Steele is expanding Emerge America, which today recruits and trains Democratic women to run for local, state and federal offices in 23 states. Now, she’s going nationwide.
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Fayrouz Saad The former DHS official is running as a Democrat for a toss-up open seat representing Michigan in the U.S. House. She could become the first Muslim-American woman in Congress.
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Debra Haaland The Democratic Party activist is running for an open seat in the U.S. House representing New Mexico. She would become the first Native American woman in Congress.
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Katie Hobbs The Arizona State Senate Democratic leader and advocate for women in politics aims to replace a female Republican incumbent and become the next secretary of state.

VoteRunLead

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VoteRunLead Wants Women in Power, Regardless of Party Can Erin Vilardi, founder of nonpartisan nonprofit VoteRunLead, manage huge post-Trump demand for candidate training from progressive women, and bring Republican women along?
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Leah Phifer The former FBI intelligence analyst and motorcycle enthusiast ran as Democrat in a competitive race for an open Minnesota seat in the U.S. House.
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Mina Davis The young entrepreneur and Democrat is running for Nebraska State Senate, and is the only person of color running for office in the entire state.
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Morgan Zegers The 21-year-old college student wants to be a fresh face and vigorous advocate for Upstate conservatives within the New York State Assembly.

Crowdpac

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Crowdpac’s Funding Engine is Powering Women Candidates Former Google executive Gisel Kordestani co-founded the nonpartisan crowdfunding platform to get big money out of politics. She may also help level the playing field for women candidates.
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Haley Stevens This former Treasury Department official and Michigan Democrat is running for an open congressional seat in a crowded toss-up contest.
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Regina Bateson The former foreign service officer and college educator is running for a California congressional seat as a Democrat, challenging an incumbent Republican climate-change denier.
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Sarah Riggs Amico The “politically purple” corporate-leader-turned-candidate would make history and break a Republican winning streak, if she becomes lieutenant governor of Georgia.

GOP Efforts

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Republican Efforts to Elect Women are Modest, But Vital A number of organizations are working to elect Republican women. While their impact is limited by the GOP’s aversion to identity politics, equal political representation for women won’t happen without them.
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Shantel Krebs South Dakota’s secretary of state is now running to be her state’s sole U.S. House representative, aiming to succeed fellow Republican Kristi L. Noem, who is running for governor.
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Lena Epstein The business owner and former Michigan Trump campaign co-chair is running for a competitive open seat in the U.S. House.
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Kimberlin Brown The California soap opera star and entrepreneur made her political debut as a speaker at the 2016 Republican National Convention. Now, she’s challenging an incumbent Democrat for a U.S. House seat.