Women Candidates Win Big in Latest Primary Elections

Four more states wrapped up their primary elections on Tuesday, May 15 — and, once more, women candidates came on strong. The results across the country show that the progressive wing of the Democratic party continues to have momentum heading into the November midterms.


One of the most watched races in the state was a struggle for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd District. There, non-profit executive Kara Eastman snagged a surprise victory over well-known state legislator Brad Ashford. Eastman, a progressive, pro-choice candidate, won by about 1,000 votes over Ashford, a former Republican who was backed by the Democratic Congressional Candidate Committee (DCCC). She will now take on incumbent Republican Rep. Don Bacon.

Eastman wasn’t the only big female winner, either. Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould easily beat a pool of opponents for the Democratic nomination for Senate. She’ll now face off against Republican Sen. Deb Fischer.


Paulette Jordan came one step closer to breaking a number of glass ceilings in Idaho with her insurgent win to nab the Democratic nomination for governor. Jordan, a state representative, beat out an establishment-backed male candidate, positioning her to potentially be the first female governor of Idaho — and the first Native governor in the country.

Jordan must now face Republican Lt. Gov Brad Little in the general election. Idaho hasn’t had a Democratic governor in over 20 years, but the state’s rapid growth has many thinking it could be trending blue – and the fact that Democratic voter turnout surged on Tuesday is a good sign.


Even a progressive bastion like Oregon saw victories for women on Tuesday. Female Governor Kate Brown easily won her Democratic primary. But in other races, women came in to challenge sitting Democrats and move the legislature further to the left.

Civil rights attorney Shemia Fagan ousted a five-term state senator from the Democratic nomination, challenging him over affordable housing. “Fagan made affordable housing her top priority and said she would put an end to no-cause evictions and allow cities to enact rent controls,” Oregon Live reports.

Fagan beat her opponent 62 to 25. Tiffany Mitchell, a child welfare advocate, beat two male rivals for the nomination for an open seat in the state house. And even on the GOP side, women were winning. Retiree volunteer and former political wife Selma Pierce won the Republican endorsement for a state legislative seat, hoping to wrestle it from a sitting male Democrat.


Finally, Pennsylvania showed the biggest opportunities for women on Tuesday night with the potential for a major gender power switch in the state.

Roll Call reports:

Pennsylvania holds the distinction of having the largest all-male congressional delegation, but that is likely to change next year following Tuesday’s primaries.

Eight women won their primary races in the Keystone State on Tuesday — seven Democrats and one Republican, who was the lone candidate in the contest. Two female candidates were in races that were too close to call at press time. Of the women who won, one Democrat is favored to win the general election in November, thanks to her district’s partisan makeup. Three are in competitive races they could win.

These new candidate challenges aren’t just a change-up in gender but in policy and age demographics, too. Citing two of the surprise race results, Vox notes:

Both Dom and Paul Costa, the incumbent losers, were on the conservative side of modern Democratic Party politics but also seemingly well-entrenched. Instead, they lost. To Sara Innamorato, a 32-year-old nonprofit manager and former Apple retail store worker, and Summer Lee, a 2015 graduate of the Howard University School of Law. Their wins are ideological victories for the left, but also reflect basic demographic dynamics. Women — and especially younger women and women with college degrees — are the core of the anti-Trump political mobilization, and candidates who can mirror and channel that specific demographic are well-positioned to win Democratic primaries this cycle.

Pennsylvania was a big win for EMILY’s List, who saw six of their endorsed candidates for House win their races. Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, stated:

Tonight voters made clear that more women should have seats at the table in Harrisburg. These pro-choice Democratic women are dedicated to fighting for progressive policies that support working families and protect women’s health care. EMILY’s List is proud to stand with them as they advance to the general election.

If early victories are any indication, the 2018 midterms could mean more women in office than ever before.

Photo credit: Eastman for Congress


Marie W
Marie W2 months ago

Thank you for posting

Shirley P
Shirley P6 months ago


Joan E
Joan E8 months ago

Just saw Stacey Abrams on the news. She is the first Black woman who won the Georgia Dem primary for Governor as a result of last night's election. Congratulations to Stacey.

Past Member 8 months ago

Great news

Greta L
Greta L8 months ago

Good news. Thanks.

Chad A
Chad A8 months ago


Mary B
Mary B8 months ago

Eric L, what do the progressive wing of the democrats stand for ? What the Green party USED to stand for before they got swallowed by the right wing . They are also called the Justice Democrats, they are a populous party similar to Bernie's Independent platform. You know,Medicare for all as a human right, low cost or free collage ,environmental issues, Paid maternity leave,$15. minimum wage, gun control, and none of the free market BS that you keep pushing out because they see it doesn't work. Anything that really DOES help the people of this country.That is what they stand for. They are the future, and what the Greens could have become. How old were you when Ralph Nader and Winonia LaDuke ran as Greens ? I'm asking because I gave up on them as soon as I realized they didn't have a chance with out instant run off voting, and the electorial collage set up. And Nadar was mad as hell because the Dems wouldn't let him be part of the candidates debate. So when did they get hijacked by the same old right wing ?

Tania N
Tania N8 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Tania N
Tania N8 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

Tania N
Tania N8 months ago

Thanks for sharing.