For all the hype about 2018 being the “year of the woman,” it turns out Republicans could actually have fewer women in the U.S. House after the midterm elections.
Currently, the Republican House conference has just 23 women among its 236 members, and according to analysis from The Hill Monday, if every woman incumbent and woman challenger in competitive races wins in November, the party would still have between 20 and 25 women in the House total.
Of course, even that estimate is generous, considering Democrats have consistently led on the generic ballot, with the most recent polling giving the party a 45-37 percent edge over Republicans.
All things considered, as David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report told The Hill Monday, “[T]he ranks of GOP women are likely to shrink. It’s a fairly dire situation for Republican women in the House.”
Salon noted the situation Tuesday morning as well. Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics, told the outlet the problem on the GOP side is that women simply aren’t filing to run for office. While a record number of women — 476, to be precise — are running for House seats this year, only 120 are Republicans.
But even when Republican women do run, the party has often picked male candidates over their female counterparts, as Wasserman explained. Just 34 percent of Republican women who have run for House seats this year have won their elections, compared to 69 percent of Democratic women.
Update: so far in 2018 Dem House primaries featuring one man, one woman & no incumbent on ballot, a woman has won 83/121 times (69%). On GOP side, just 12/35 times (34%).
— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) August 8, 2018
The story on the Democratic side is starkly different, with record numbers of women running and winning their primaries. According to a New York Times analysis from last week, 200 female House nominees are headed to the general election — a record with primaries still left in six states.
Additionally, the party has fielded a record number of LGBTQ candidates. According to the Associated Press, nearly 400 LGBTQ candidates mounted campaigns this year, and about 200 are expected to be on the ballot this November.
Despite the imbalance on the Republican side, female candidates stand a chance of dramatically shifting the gender gap in the House. If — and, of course, it’s a big if — every woman who has won a House primary wins in November, the number of women in the House would jump from 84 to 177.
Of course, 177 out of 435 — the best case scenario — isn’t even anything close to parity.