Tuesday night’s primaries demonstrated that the momentum women seeking office have shown since the 2016 presidential election continues. Women have been increasing their presence on the political front lines since then, in part in response to President Trump’s election.
Here’s where women had big wins or moved their candidacies forward on Tuesday:
New Mexico: Deb Haaland is on track to win the Democratic primary for New Mexico’s 1st Congressional District, which would make her the first Native American woman in Congress. The former Democratic state party leader hopes to replace Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), the state’s Democratic candidate for governor.
Democrat Xochitl Torres Small and Republican Yvette Herrell hope to represent southern New Mexico in Congress. They will face one another in the runoff to replace Rep. Stevan Pearce, (R-N.M.), the state’s only GOP congressional member.
South Dakota: Rep. Kristi L. Noem’s (R-S.D.) primary win in the heavily Republican state puts her on the road to becoming the state’s first female governor.
Some Republican women recorded primary victories — like Noem and Rep. Martha Roby (R-Ala.) — but most of Tuesday night’s wins came for female Democrats.
The idea that hostility toward Trump inspired liberal women to step into power is somewhat shortsighted, says Symone Sanders, former press secretary for the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). She credits some of the increased interest in politics from women to the “Trump effect,” but says that many people’s understanding of what that means is off.
“Many people say it’s anti-Trump. I don’t think it’s anti-Trump. I think most people say, ‘If Donald Trump can run for president and win, clearly I can run too, because I have something to offer.’ I think people see an opening and an opportunity,” Sanders said. “There are so many issues on the board. And I think there are women in many spaces and places across this country who have been working to combat these issues their entire lives and see openings that they can take the work they’ve been doing in the private sector and put it into action in the public sector.”
Many of the women who won nomination on Tuesday have the potential to bring ideas to the table that previous liberal candidates haven’t prioritized because of gender, race or other reasons.
If women continue to put forward ideas that resonate with voters, we will likely continue to see women enjoy victories at the primary polls. All eyes will be on whether this will translate into success in the general election — and to what degree.