FACT CHECK: Have Democrats Nominated A Record Number Of Female Candidates For Governor?

David Sivak | Fact Check Editor

The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) claimed that the party had nominated a record number of female candidates for governor.

Verdict: True

Women in 10 states have been nominated for governor by the Democratic Party in 2018, beating out the previous record of nine.

Fact Check:

Former state legislator Mary Throne won the Democratic primary for governor of Wyoming last Tuesday with 73 percent of the vote.

The DGA tweeted about the election victory that night.

“It’s official: With @MaryForWyoming’s primary victory tonight, Democrats have broken the record for most women gubernatorial nominees in a year for a major party,” it said.

Throne, along with female candidates in nine other states, will represent the Democratic Party in gubernatorial elections that will be held on Nov. 6.

That’s the highest number on record, according to data compiled by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.

CAWP is considered a leading authority on women’s participation in politics and has been tracking the number of female nominees for governor since the early 1970s.

Such records have historically been broken during midterm election cycles, when roughly two-thirds of all governor’s seats open up. The Democratic Party last set a record in 2002 with nine female candidates for governor, and Republicans set a record of five female nominees in 1986.

There are currently four Republican women on the ballot for the upcoming general election.

A handful of states have yet to hold primaries, so there’s a possibility that additional women will secure a nomination for governor. Florida, for example, has its primary on Aug. 28, and Democrat Gwen Graham is leading in the polls.

(Since the DGA sent out its tweet, businesswoman Lou Leon Guerrero won the Democratic nomination for governor of the territory of Guam by 260 votes, although the runner-up intends to request a recount.)

Even though the figures from CAWP only go back to the 1970s, experts told us that far fewer women ran for, let alone became governor prior to 1974.

“There have only been a total of 39 women governors in the history of the United States, and only 4 served prior to 1974,” Richard Fox, a professor of political science at Loyola Marymount University, told The Daily Caller in an email.

Of the 39 governors, 22 have been Democrats and 17 have been Republicans. This tally does not include Puerto Rico, which has had one female governor, or the District of Columbia, where two women have served as mayor.

Six women serve as governor today, lower than the record of nine set in 2004.

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David Sivak

Fact Check Editor
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