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Carroll+and+Fox+Ch+7+9.20.10 - r 86 Wendy G. Smooth 31 32...

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Unformatted text preview: r 86 Wendy G. Smooth 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 4O 41 Campaigns: A Model of Black Candidate Success in Statewide Elections. Ps- I Political Science and Politics 25: 204-12. Center for American Women and Politics. 2009. Fact Sheet. Women of Color _ in Elective Office 2009. <http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/fastiacts/levelsgof : office/documents/color.pdf> July 31, 2009. See Center for American Women and Politics. Women of Color in Elected 37 Office Fact Sheets for 1998 and 2009. <http://www.cawp.rutgersedu/fast ’ I, facts/levels_of_office/documents/color.pdf> July 31, 2009. See Center for American Women and Politics. African American Women in ' 3 Electoral Politics. <http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/fastacts/women.of_color/ FastFactsAfricanAmericanWomeninOffice.php> July 31, 2009. Donna Edwards was elected in a special election in June 2008 to complete the term of the incumbent, Albert Wynn. Wynn resigned to accept a position as a lobbyist following his defeat by Edwards during the February Democratic Party primary. Edwards went on to win her first full congressional term during the November general election. Rosaland Helderman, William Warm, and Ovetta Wiggins. February 14, 2008. Rare Dual Losses in Maryland Put Incumbents on Notice. Washington Post. Bernard Grofman and Chandler Davidson, eds. 1992. Controversies in Minorin Voting: The Voting Rights Act. New York: Cambridge University Press. Tate 2003. Irwin N. Gertzog. 2002. Women’s Changing Pathways to the U.S. House of Representatives: Widows, Elites, and Strategic Politicians. In Women Transform- ing Congress, ed. Cindy Simon Rosenthal. Norman: Oklahoma University Press 9 5—1 18. Joyce Jones. January 2004. The Future PAC. Black Enterprise. Robin M. Bennefield. July/ August 2004. Women Join Forces to Support Black Female Politicians. Crisis (The New) 111212. See the Black Women’s Roundtable (BWR), a part of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation at <http://www.bigvote.org/bwr.htm> February 20, 2005. "tr-‘waw'rrwzm—zwWNW, . xwemquwvrwgwmcwmw RICHARD L FOX" m, .mwrnmttt‘wy'inwflflcrmw... .. Mammy; a 7 Congressional Elections Women’s Candidacies and the Road to Gender Parity After losing in the midterm congressional elections in 2002, Democratic Party House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt announced that he would be stepping down. Immediately thereafter, California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, who had been in Congress since 1987 and was serving as the Democratic whip, announced her candidacy. Pelosi quickly dis- patched vvith two male rivals for the position and was elected to the post of minority leader. After Pelosi officially assumed the position, the Chris- tian Science Monitor proclaimed in a headline: "Pelosi shatters a Marble Ceiling.”1 The selection of Pelosi was truly historic, as she was the first woman in the 216-year history of the U.S. Congress to head one of the major parties. Although Pelosi was well known on Capitol Hill, an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released right after her election found that 61 percent of the public was not sure who she was.2 But women's rights advocates were generally thrilled with the selection of Pelosi. Peg Yorkin, cofounder of the Feminist Majority Foundation noted, "Suddenly, in the midst of all those essentially gray, white men in the Republican leader- ship, you’ve got a friendly, intelligent, warm woman who doesn’t stand on ceremony. . . . It’s going to be something.”3 Pelosi continued as minor- ity leader after the 2004 elections, which saw the Republicans retain con— trol of the White House and both houses of Congress. The political winds shifted mightily in the 2006 midterm elections as the public, having lost patience with the war in Iraq and express- ing concerns about the direction of the country, returned the Democrats to power in both the House and Senate for the first time since 1994. With this election, Nancy Pelosi was elevated to the position of Speaker of the House, becoming the highest-ranking woman elected official in * Iwould like to thank Ellen Hou for assistance in data collection. 187 188 Richard L. Fox US. history. The public face of Congress was no longer only that of men. Pelosi herself, in a speech right before the election, commented on her rise to be Speaker: "It says to women everywhere that...anythjng is possible/’4 After 2008, the Democrats increased their numbers in both houses, and Pelosi appears to have a potentially long run as House speaker ahead. It is, of course, much too soon to determine how successful a trailblazer Pelosi will be as speaker. She has been a controversial figure, castigated by Republicans as a San Francisco liberal out of touch with the values of the country. In a Gallup Poll right after the 2008 election, 42 percent of the public had a favorable view of her, and 41 percent had a negatiVe view.5 Regardless, Pelosi’s ascension to the top congressional leadership role marks a dramatic breakthrough and the dismantling of one more glass ceiling in US. politics. Despite the success of Nancy Pelosi, women’s journey toward gen- der parity in the US. Congress remains a slow process. In fact, recent elections can be viewed as a disappointment in terms of the progress of women candidates. Gains in Congress have been in very small incre- ments, and one of the major political parties has actually been putting forward fewer and fewer women candidates. Further, the 2006 election reveals that electoral environments and strategies can still be very gen- dered enterprises. After disappointing losses in the 2002 and 2004 elections, the Demo- crats made a push to recruit and run more military veterans, responding to the perceived advantage Republicans had in claiming they could keep Americans safe in the post~9/ ll era. The New York Times reporters James Dao and Adam Nagourney summarized the strategy: "For Democrats struggling to win back Congress, . . . [this was] the most obvious of elec~ tion strategies: erase the Republican advantage on national security by running real—life combat veterans as candidates.”6 In the end, fifty—three veterans, forty from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, emerged as Demo- cratic challengers to run for open seats or to take on Republican incum- bents. Out of this group, only two were women.7 The recruitment of military veterans to demonstrate the image of toughness is a strategy that precludes many women from running, because only 15 percent of active-duty personnel are women and only 6 percent of veterans are women.8 Further, this strategy plays into gen- der stereotypes that masculinity and aggressiveness are the best symbols to exude toughness in times of military conflict. Did the strategy to run war veterans work? The results were mixed, but many women candidates, including the Iraq War veteran Tammy l- t} i s. E, ‘ w Congressional Elections 189 Duckworth, running in Illinois’ Sixth District, lost close races. Many were predicting big gains for women House candidates in the 2006 elections, with the veteran political forecaster Larry Sabato asserting that women would gain a minimum of nine seats in the House, making it the best Single—year gain for women since 1992.9 Sabato was wrong, as women lost close races around the country and netted only four new seats. A number of analysts pointed to the masculine “get tough” electoral atmo- sphere as among the reasons women underperformed. As the stories of Nancy Pelosi’s rise to the House speakership and the use of veterans in the 2006 midterm elections illustrate, the opportuni- ties and difficulties facing women candidates are multifaceted. Women are making tremendous strides in electoral politics, but they continue to face many challenges that have plagued women’s candidacies through- out modern U.S. electoral history. This chapter examines the evolution of women’s candidacies for Congress and the role gender continues to play in congressional elections. Ultimately, I focus on one fundamental ques— tion: why are there still so few women serving in the House and Senate? In exploring the persistence of gender as a factor in congressional elec- tions, I divide the chapter into three sections. In the first section, I offer a brief historical overview of the role of gender in congressional elections. The second section compares male and female candidates’ electoral per- formance and success in House and Senate races through the 2008 elec— tions. The results of this analysis confirm that, when considered in the aggregate, the electoral playing field has become largely level for women and men. In the final section of the chapter, 1 provide some answers as to why, in that case, so few women are in Congress. Here, I turn to the subtler ways that gender continues to affect congressional elections. The combination of gendered geographic trends, women’s presence in differ- ent types of congressional races, the lack of women running as Repub- licans, and the gender gap in political ambition suggests that gender is playing an important role in congressional elections. THE HlSTORlCAL EVOLUTION OF WOMEN’S CANDIDAClES FOR CONGRESS Throughout the 1990s, women made significant strides competing for and Winning seats in the US Congress. The 1992 elections, often referred to as the “Year of the Woman,” resulted not only in an historic increase in the number of women in both the House and the Senate but also in the promise of movement toward some semblance of gender parity in our political institutions (see Table 7.1). After all, in the history of the 190 Richard L. FOX TABLE 7.1: Over time, more Democraticwo’men than Republican women havé‘efhergediéngoiise tandidate‘sfanaWinners: ' ' ' ' r -- t 4 1970 1980 1990 1992 2000 2004 2006 72503 General election candidates Democratic women 15 27 39 70 80 88 95 95 Republican women 10 25 30 36 42 53 42 38 Total women 25 52 69 106 122 141 137 133 General election winners Democratic women 10 1 1 19 35 41 43 SO 58 Percentageofall 3.9 4.5 7.1 13.6 19.4 21.4 21.5 22.6 Democratic winners Republican women 3 1O 9 12 18 23 21 17 Percentage ofall 1.7 5.2 ' 5.4 6.8 8.1 9.9 10.4 96 Republican winners Note: Except where noted, entries represent the raw number of women candidates and winners for each year. Source: Center for American Women and Politics, 2008 Fact Sheets, http://www.cawp .rutgers.edu/fast_facts/index.php. U.S. Congress, there have been more than 11,600 male representatives but only 255 female representatives (see Figure 7.1). Only thirty-eight women have ever served in the U.S. Senate, nineteen of whom either were appointed or won special elections. However, the gains of 1992 were not repeated at a steady pace. Cur- rently, 83 percent of the members of the U.S. Senate and 83 percent of the members of the U.S. House are male. This places the United States eighty—fifth worldwide in terms of the proportion of women serving in the national legislature, a ranking far behind that of many other demo- cratic governments.10 Further, the overwhelming majority of the women elected to Congress have been white. Of the 75 (out of 435) women elected to the U.S. House in the 2008 election, there are 12 African Amer— icans, 7 Latinas, and 2 Asian Pacific—Pacific Islander Americans. There are no women of color among the seventeen women currently serving in the U.S. Senate. The continued dearth of women in Congress suggests that a masculine ethos, ever present across the history of Congress, still permeates the con- gressional electoral environment. A host of interrelated factors — money, familiarity with power brokers, political experience, and support from . Manmmymmwy, w. mam-NA Congressional Elections 191 Figure 7_1: Historical gender disparities in congressional representation. D Since 1789 only 2% of members of Congress have been women. 255 2% Males 1 1 ,648 Females 98% (as of January 2009) Note: Figure includes both House and Senate members. Source: Center for American Women and Politics, 2009 Fact Sheet. the political parties — all contribute to a winning campaign. Traditional candidates are members of the political or economic elite. Most emerge from lower-level elected offices or work in their communities, typically in law or business. They tend to receive encouragement to run for office from influential members of the community, party officials, or outgo- ing incumbents. And these same elites who encourage candidacies also contribute money to campaigns and hold fund-raisers. This process has been in place for most of the recent history of congressional candida- cies and, for obvious reasons, has served men well and women very poorly. . Because they have been excluded from their cornmunities’ economic and political elites throughout much of the twentieth century, women’s paths to Congress often take different forms. Widows of congressmen who died in office dominated the first wave of successful female can- didates. Between 1916 and 1964, twenty-eight of the thirty-two widows nominated to fill their husbands' seats won their elections, for a victory rate of 88 percent. Across the same time period, only 32 of the 199 non- widows who garnered their parties’ nominations were elected (a 14 per- cent victory rate).11 Overall, roughly half the women who served in the House in this time period were widows. Congressional widows were the one type of woman candidate who was readily acceptable to party leaders at this time. 192 Richard L. Fox _ The 19605 and 1970s marked the emergence of a second type of we. man candidate — one who turned her attention from Civic Volunteerism to politics. A few women involved in grassroots community politics rode their activism to Washington. Notable figures who pursued this path include Patsy Mink in Hawaii, elected in 1964; Shirley Chisholm in New York, elected in 1968; Bella Abzug in New York, elected in 1970; and Pat Schroeder in Colorado and Barbara Jordan in Texas, both elected in 1 972. We are currently in the third and possibly final stage of the evolution of women's candidacies. The prevailing model of running for Congress is far less rigid. The combination of decreased political party power and growing media influence facilitates the emergence of a more diverse array of candidates competing successfully for their parties’ nominations. Con- verging with this less rigid path is an increase in the number of women who now fit the profile of a “traditional” candidate. Women's presence in the fields of business and law has dramatically increased. Further, the number of women serving in state legislatures, a springboard to Congress, has roughly tripled since 1975 (although it is important to note that women's presence in the state governments has stalled in recent elec- tions; for more on this, see Kira Sanbonmatsu’s Chapter 10 in this vol- ume). Together, these developments help to explain why the eligibility pool of prospective women candidates grew substantially throughout the 1990s. Despite the growth in the number of eligible women who could run for Congress, the most recent congressional election cycles indicate that women's progress has continued only in fits and starts. The 2002 elec- tions marked the first time since 1994 that women did not increase their presence in the House. Women had a relatively good year in the 2004 elections, gaining eight House seats. In 2006 and 2008, there were more modest gains for women, with net increases of four and three new House members, respectively. In the Senate, the rate of increase has been just as slow, With a net increase of four women over the past five election cycles. Perhaps more important, though, there has not been a steady increase in the number of women filing to run for Congress. In 2006 and 2008, slightly more than two hundred women filed to run for the U.S. House of Representatives; more women sought office in the 1992 and 1996 House elections. Similar patterns exist for U.S. Senate races. A record twelve women won their party’s U.S. Senate nominations in 2006, but the num- ber dropped to a mere seven candidates in 2008. Table 7:1 presents the number of women candidates who won their party nominations and ran r w, gMWtram»?v:wV‘7‘Kwdox'm'iwfi'i‘t‘fwwrwwfia ,, l; I ‘ Congre ssional Elections 193 , in House general elections from 1970 through 2008. Although there has been steady, albeit slow, growth in the number of women running in General election races over the past thirty years, the only dramaticsmgle- ;ear jump occurred in 1992. The 2004 election did set a record, With 141 Women candidates Winning their party nominations for House seats. But to put this number into perspective, it is helpful to recognize that more than 675 male candidates garnered their parties’ normnations. Thenum- ber of major-party nominees has actually come down a little bit the past two election cycles. An important factor illustrated in Table 7.1 is the divergent paths of the Democratic and Republican parties..The Democrats have been on a slow and steady path, continually increasing the number of women candidates and winners. The Republicans, in contrast, have put forward significantly fewer women over the past two election cycles, and the percentage of women in the Republican House delegation has declined in the past two electoral cycles. Overall, the historical evolution of women’s candidacies demonstrates that we are in a period of increasing opportunities for women candidates, yet progress is very slow. From this point, we turn our attention to exam- ining the potential challenges that are facing women candidates, focusing on the question of why there continue to be so few women elected to the U.S. Congress. MEN AND WOMEN RUNNING FOR CONGRESS: THE GENERAL INDICATORS In assessing why so few women serve in Congress, most researchers have turned to key election statistics and compared female and male congres— sional candidates. Turning first to overt voter bias against women candi— dates, the research is mixed. In a series of experimental studies in which participants are presented with a hypothetical match—up between men and women candidates, researchers have identified bias against women.12 But studies that focus on actual vote totals fail to uncover evidence of bias.13 Barbara Burrell, a contributor to this volume, concluded in an ear- lier study that candidates’ sex accounts for less than 1 percent of the variation in the vote for House candidates from 1968 to 1992. Kathy Dolan, who carried out a comprehensive 2004 study of patterns in gen- der and voting, concluded that candidates’ sex is a relevant factor only in rare electoral circumstances.14 Jennifer Lawless and Kathryn Pearson, in an analysis of congressional primary elections between 1958 and 2004, found that women candidates are more likely to face more crowded 194 Richard L, F0 TABLE 7.2:. :Women House{candidates,:haVe-similar I voteshare‘s‘forzooe and_20035"“ '* ’ ‘ 5' ” 2006 2008 Women Men Women Men % % % % Democrats Incumbents 74 75 72* 67 (44) (146) (43) (143) Challengers 41 38 40* 37 (45) (154) (35) (122) Open seats 62* 50 51 49 (12) (25) (10) (26) Republicans Incumbents 56* 61 58 60 (23) (182) (17) (140) Challengers 29 29 31 30 (16) (134) (19) (167) Open seats 45 49 47 47 (7) (30) (2) (34) Notes: Candidates running unopposed are omitted from these results. Entries indicate mean vote share won. Parentheses indicate the total number of candidates for each category. Significance levels: *p < .05; difference of means test. Source: Compiled from New York Times listing of election results. and competitive primaries, though they did not find evidence of voter bias.IS If we look at the perfonnance of men and women in House elec- tions in 2006 and 2008, we arrive at a similar conclusion. The data pre- sented in Table 7.2 confirm that there is no Widespread voter bias against women candidates. In the most recent House races, women and men fared similarly in terms of raw vote totals. In fact, Democratic women running for open seats in 2006 and as incumbents and challengers in 2008 appeared to have a slight advantage over their male counterparts. Con— versely, incumbent Republican women fared a little worse in 2006 than did male incumbents. In the Senate, with no more than twelve female general election candidates running in any year, and as few as six in some elections (such as 1996), statistical comparisons are not useful. The gen— eral trends, however, reveal no general bias for or against women Senate candidates from 2006 or 2008. ; fun(praising — few; women Ia toral fongressional Elections 195 ming to the second most important indicator of electoral success — we see similar results. In the 1970s and 1980s, because so n for office, many scholars assumed that women in elec- pOIitics simply could not raise the amount of money necessary to nt competitive campaigns. Indeed, older research that focused mostly mou cdotal Studies concluded that women ran campaigns With lower on we f fundinO than did men. More systematic examinations of cam« leliels :ceipts hbWever, have uncovered little evidence of seX differences Pal(131:11qrc1-raising for similarly situated candidates. An early study of con— :essional candidates from 1972 to 1982 found only a :‘very weak: rela- tion5hip between gender and the ability to raise campaign funds. More recent research indicates that, by the 1988 House elections, the dispar— ity between men and women in campaign fund-raising had completely disappeared.” In cases where women raised less money than men, the differences were accounted for by incumbency status: male incumbents generally held positions of greater political power and thus attracted larger contributions.18 Since 1992, political action lCOInIIlltICCS such as EMILY’s List have worked to make certain that Viable women candi- dates suffer no disadvantage in fund—raising. (See Chapter 8, by Barbara Burrell, in this volume for a discussion of EMILY’s List.) . If we examine fund-raising totals of male and female general election House candidates in 2006 and 2008, we see few gender differences (see Table 7.3). In fact, the discrepancies that do exist reveal an advantage for women candidates in several instances. Women challengers in both par- ties, for instance, substantially outraised their male counterparts in 2008. The number of women Senate candidates is too small for meaningfulsta- tistical comparisons With men. If we look at the three most competitive Senate races in which women ran against men, the results do not sug- gest any clear gender patterns in fund-raising. In the 2006 open-seat race in Minnesota, Republican Mark Kennedy raised $9,741,224, compared to Democrat Amy Klobuchar’s $9,202,052. Klobuchar ultimately won the race handily. In the hotly contested race for Missouri’s US. Senate seat, Republican incumbent Jim Talent outspent his Democratic oppo— nent Claire McCaskill $23,765,577 to $11,412,117. Despite the financral edge for Talent, McCaskill pulled out the race with a three-point vic- tory. The Democratic tide in 2006 overwhelmed Talent’s finanCial advan- tage. In 2008, Democratic challenger Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire and Republican incumbent John Sununu had similar fund-raising totals, With $8,333,838 and $8,879,301, respectively. In a year of many Demo- cratic success stories, Shaheen won fairly easily. Overall, though, no clear Tu 196 Richard L, FOX TABLE73§ wqm’eyhi‘ahd men 306 use'ganaidaegj‘havaamusetuna; y_y _ V r aisingf‘i patternsfori2006' and 2,008 _. _ _ M y _ _ ‘ L “ 2006 2008 Women Men Women Men Democrats Incumbents $1,036,889 $1,183,077 $1,305,944 $1,459,846 (42) (146) (50) (178) Challengers 1,056,608 477,711 914,181* 528,420 (41) (154) (35) (122) Open seats 1,450,498 1,253,155 1,635,608 1,776,123 (12) (24) (10) (26) Republicans Incumbents 1,904,349 1,417,444 1,597,852 1,414,514 (23) (184) (17) (154) Challengers 265,111 289,508 629,246 342,182 (12) (134) (19) (167) Open seats 1,175,896 1,570580 600,709 984,990 (7) (26) (2) (34) Notes: Candidates running unopposed are omitted from these results. Entries indicate total money raised. Parentheses indicate the total number of candidates in each cate- gory. Significance levels: *p < .10 in difference of means test. Source: Compiled from 2008 Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports. gender differences emerge in House or Senate competition for funds. As Barbara Burrell suggests in her chapter on party organizations and inter- est groups, women and men may turn to different fund-raising sources, but the net results appear to be similar levels of financial success. On the basis of general indicators, we see What appears to be a gender- neutral electoral environment. Women are slowly increasing their num- bers in Congress, and men and women perform similarly in terms of vote totals and fund-raising. The data certainly suggest that men have lost their stranglehold over the congressional election process and that women can now find excellent political opportunities. But these broad statistical com- parisons tell only part of the story. ARE WOMEN MAKING GAINS EVERYWHERE? STATE AND REGIONAL VARIATION Women have not been equally successful running for elective office in all parts of the United States. Some regions and states appear to be far i i 1 7 Congressional Elections 9 e amenable to the election of women than others. But across the Inc; and 2008 c0ngressional elections, women made some significant igeakthroughs, with none more apparent than in Oklahoma. The only Oman ever to serve in the US. Congress from Oklahoma was Alice-Mary W bertson, Who was elected for one term in 1920. It would take eighty- Ei: Years before Oklahoma would elect its next female House member. :gepublican Mary Fallin had already made history in Oklahoma by becom- mo the first woman lieutenant governor in 1995. When she decided to m; for the open Seat in Oklahoma’s Fifth District, she was Joined in a crowded Republican primary by five other candidates contestmg the election. Fallin won the primary, but she did not receive enough votes to avoid a runoff with Oklahoma City mayor Mick Comett. She ultimately won the runoff and cruised to victory in the general. election against a little—known Democrat in the heavily Republican district. . While Fallin was breaking the glass ceiling in Oklahoma in 2006, women challengers running in recent elections in other states With poor records of electing women, such as Iowa, Mississippi, and Alabama, have not been as successful. In Alabama, for instance, the former lieutenant oovemor Lucy Baxley noted that women have done better in local elec- :ions and that "there has been a line” drawn at federal office. The Uru- versity of Alabama political science professor William H. Stewart simply observed regarding a recently defeated woman candidate, "A good con- servative man is the ideal candidate” in that district.19 After the. June 2008 primary in Iowa, John Deeth, writing for the Iowa Independent, [com- merited that 2008 might be the year that the "Iowa-Mississippi Jinx was broken.20 In the primary, the Democrats nominated Becky Greenwald to run against seven-term incumbent Tom Latham in the Fourth Dis- trict, and Republicans nominated Mariannette Miller-Meeks in the Sec- ond District to run against the first—term congressman Dave Loebsack. While there was some initial enthusiasm about the prospects of these candidates, both were defeated handily in the general election. As the results of recent elections in places like Iowa and Alabama sug- gest, women may face disadvantages when running for office in some parts of the United States. If we examine the prevalence of male and female House candidates by region and state, we see that the broader inclusion of women in high-level politics has not extended to all regions of the country equally. Table 7.4 tracks women's electoral success in House races since 1970 but breaks the data down by four geographic regions. Before 1990, the Northeast saw two and three times as many women candidates as any other region in the country. The situation changed dramatically with the Year of the Woman elections in 1992. 198 TABLE74-Shar ~ . . ~ - F _“ Preglon ldlffereh” ' M ‘ " 7; ' ’ representatives, wheat-mined; Fes eX-‘Sf‘ the?” m0” 9W5; West South Midwest 7 Northeast % % % ° 1970 A) 1980 3.9 0.0 2.5 4 9 1990 2.6 1.6 3.3 8.1 1992 8.2 2.3 6.2 9.6 2000 17.2 7.9 6.7 12.4 2002 25.8 9.2 10.9 11.3 2004 25.5 8.7 11.5 9.8 2006 26.5 11.0 14.0 10.9 2008 28.6 9.9 18.0 11:6 Net percentage 14.7 , , . 9.8 change (1970 to 2008) Notes: Perce t for the West :SaESZJiTfleit the Proportion of House members who are women. The ratio Y 5 €W€d by California; without California, the percentage for the ' gressional Elections States with high percentage of women representatives Nevada (3) — 67% Hawaii (2) — 50% Maine (2) — 50% New Hampshire (2) — 50% California (53) — 36% West Virginia (3) — 33% Colorado (7) — 29% Ohio (18) « 28% Arizona (8) — 25% 4 Kansas (4) — 25% Minnesota (8) — 25% Wisconsin (8) — 25% Florida (25) — 24% N Utah (3) lllinois (19) — 21% New York (29) - 21% We ‘ st delegation after the 2008 elections is 20 percent women. Source‘ Com ' - piled b t . Sheets. Y au hor from Center for American Women and Politics, 2008 Fact ldaho (2) Rhode Island (2) Alaska (1) Delaware (1 )a Montana (1) Connecticut (5) - 20% Oklahoma (5) — 20% The number of . . . women Winning election to Congress from western states more th . - an dOUbledr and in the South, the number more than tripled. -’ Gains were In ‘ uch more modest in the Midwest and the Northeast. Since the late 19 A wt of chO: .only the West continues to show clear gains for women. ’ z,ains in the West can be attributed to the high number of 2 women ‘ record 0?:111CC11CEESEIOHS; seats from calfiomia’ but women have a Strong Washinomn The II ot er western states, such as Wyoming, Nevada, and tions, a: Wefi as thZOgraghIC breakdown in Table 7.4 puts the 1992 elec- since that time into If: €5t-mcreaS€S Of Women’s elections to Congress largely in the West aid Slhecuve. The 1992 year Of the woman gains were More SPCdfiC th t e South. among individual sjieregéon’ Fhere are also Several Striking differences 2008 elections ninetees. 0n51d€13 for example, that heading into the ington. Furthe/r men I1 states had no women representatives in Wash woman in the S Sentyt—seven State? had never been represented by a worst records m-séndjna e. Table 7.5 identifies the states with the best and following the 2008 616: Women to serve in the House of Representatives made breakthrouah . ions. In the 2006 and 2008 elections, women 0 5 m a I1umber of states where they had been having Vermont (1 )3 North Dakota (1 ) 5 Indicates states that have never sent a woman to either the House 0" Senate- Notes: Three states — Alaska, Arkansas, and LOU‘S‘ana 7 that have no Women House members, do have women serving in the Us. Senate. Two states, each With only one H0use seat, Wyoming and south Dakota, both have a woman serving. Number in parentheses is the number of House seats in the state as 01‘2008- 5ource; Compiled by author from Center for American Women and Politics, 2008 Fact Sheets. 06, some states with relatively large chusetts (ten members) and Mary- land and Arizona (eight members each), had sent no women to the House for some time, but women candidates were successful in these states in recent elections. Still, several larger states continue to lag behind in elect- ing women to Congress. Georgia and New Jersey, with thirteen House seats each, and Virginia, with eleven, have no women representatives A150, among some of the largest states women are still scarce — only two trouble getting elected. Prior to 20 House delegations, including Mas” 200 Richard L. F0 of Pennsylvania’s nineteen House members are women, and 0111 of the thirty-two House members from Texas are women. Table 7.5 also demonstrates that women congressional candidate have succeeded in a number of high-population states, like Calimeia _ Florida, and New York. Why have women done well in these states and not others? California, New York, and Florida are among those states with the biggest delegations, so perhaps we can assume that more poht‘ ical opportunities for women drive the candidacies. But this WOuld net , .- explain women’s lack of success in large states like Texas and Pennsyl- vania. Moreover, what explains women’s success in states like Missouri, where, for much of the 1990s, three of the state’s nine House members were women? Missouri borders Iowa, which has never elected a Woman House candidate. By the same token, why has Connecticut historically elected so many more women than neighboring Massachusetts? Some political scientists argue that state political culture serves as an important determinant of women’s ability to win elective office. The researchers Barbara Norrander and Clyde Wilcox have found consider- able disparities in the progress of women’s election to state legislatures across various states and regions. They explain the disparities by pointing to differences in state ideology and state culture.21 States with a conser- vative ideology and a "traditionalist or moralist” culture are less likely to elect women.22 A strong correlation between the percentage of women in the state legislature and the number of women in Congress, however, does not always exist. Massachusetts and New Jersey, for example, are better than average in terms of the number of women serving in the state legislature, yet each has a very poor record of electing women to the House of Representatives. Barbara Palmer and Dennis Simon, in their book Breaking the Political Glass Ceiling: Women and Congressional Elections, propose a diagnosis for the specific causes of regional and state differences in electing women U.S. House members. Examining all congressional elections between 1972 and 2000, Palmer and Simon introduce the idea of women-friendly dis- tricts. They find that several district characteristics are important predic- tors of the emergence and success of women candidates. For example, U.S. House districts that are not heavily conservative, are urban, are not in the South, have higher levels of racial minorities, and have higher levels of education are much more likely to have a record of electing women candidates. Palmer and Simon’s findings suggest that the manner in which gender manifests itself in the political systems and environments of individual states is an important part of the explanation for why so few women are in Congress.23 Y three ; r 3 if i .5, l i‘ if E IARE WOME ; THE B ' fling against sa , five months be . I gressional Elections 20 N RUNNING FOR BOTH PARTIES AND UNDER EST CIRCUMSTANCES? onal elections are dominated by hopeless challengers run- fely entrenched incumbents. Reporters for Congressional pleted an analysis of all 435 U.S. House races in June 2004, fore the 2004 elections, and concluded that only 21 (out of 404) races with incumbents running were competitive.24 Even in the more tumultuous elections of 2006 and 2008, fewer than 20 percent of House races Were rated as competitive by the parties and experts. In_2006, with the political environment dramatically shifting, one expert prozgsected that 60 0f the 435 House races could be considered competitive. The political environment stayed relatively fluid in 2008, when. the noted pOlitical analyst Charlie Cook rated 77 of 435 House electrons as com- petitive, but with only 27 as true "toss—ups.”26 . Expectedly, political scientists often identify the incumbency advan— tage as one of the leading explanations for women’s slow entry into electoral politics. Low turnover, a direct result of incumbency, pro- vides few opportunities for women to increase their numbers in male— dominated legislative bodies. Between 1946 and 2002, only 8 percent Of all challengers defeated incumbent members of the U.S. House.of Representatives.27 In most races, the incumbent cruised to reelectronyvrth well more than 60 percent of the vote. Accordingly, as the congressional elections scholars Ronald Keith Gaddie and Charles Bullock state, “Open seats, not the defeat of incumbents, are the portal through which most legislators enter Congress.”28 . In the 2008 general elections, only 36 of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives did not have an incumbent running. Of the thirty- five seats up for reelection in the Senate, only five were open. Nmety—six percent of the 399 House incumbents who ran in the general election won their races. Moreover, because open-seat races tend to attract the largest number of qualified and experienced candidates, particularly those with experience serving in local and state government offices, they also tend to be better funded. To begin to assess whether Women are as likely as men to take advan- tage of the dynamics associated with an open-seat race, we can examine the presence and performance of women in open-seat House contests. Table 7.6 compares women’s presence in House elections by time period, party affiliation, and type of seat. In this analysis, I divide the data into two time periods and the two most recent elections to more clearly exam- ine the evolution of women’s candidacies. As expected, women were Most congressr Quarterly com ongressional Elections 203 TC Significantly more likely to run for office in the later eras, although 3 precede a career in Congress about their ambition to someday run for 5 f3 the increase in women candidates is not constant across parties. In the g \o a 0 § 0 E § § 19805, the parties were very similar in terms of the types of races women 8' o m V ‘— v ‘— V E 5 ran in. Betvveen the first and second time period, however, the num- g m E E; beI of women Democrats running in all types of races more than dou- ‘O‘ E g bled, Whereas the increases among the Republicans were quite small. The > 8 D Go a N {a N a a; disparities between the parties became even starker in the most recent E g o\ N 1: N 33 N £2 a elections. In both 2006 and 2008, roughly 30 percent of the Democratic _ D E Open-seat candidates were women. The Republicans had their highest 5 g j share of women open‘seat candidates in 2006, at almost 20 percent, but § :55 A A '15 9 in 2008, the Republicans nominated only two women to run for open- ‘gi E °\° 0; E 00 S S 8 5 g Seat races. With open-seat races usually providing some of the best oppor- ‘Z g g E 12; tunities for electoral pickups, Democrats are nominating women to run ‘ 3 H g 2 for these seats but Republicans are not. i3 S A A A 3 E Aside from open-seat races in 2006 and 2008, the Democrats have 8: E °\° Q E E E a E g 2 been much more likely than the Republicans to nominate women to run a 8 g E for all seats (see also Table 7.1). This carries serious long-term implications :5 39 8 for the number of women serving in Congress. For women to achieve full é L5 2‘ parity in U.S. political institutions, women must be represented fully in g o m a N a g E both parties. :2- 8” ab r$r3°°5 a e “*3 3. C‘ :3 e a is g S ARE MEN AND WOMEN EQUALLY AMBITIOUS 93 g a Q g E _ TO RUN FOR CONGRESS? 1-54 Ea migemva E E .. . . . E ‘ cu ° N V N v '— v _g g The decrsron to run for office and ultimately seek a seat m Congress is a I D :2— 5 critical area of inquiry for those interested in the role of gender in elec- ‘3: g E g toral politics. Examples abound from women politicians who expressed . E (a 35 a a: “E some difficulty in taking the plunge. The current Wisconsin congress- o fig «3 5 0‘ 9 m 3 30 g woman Gwen Moore never thought of herself as someone who would 5 i «g g E run for office until she was coaxed to run for a state legislative seat in the I 93;. 3 H g g 5: 1990s.29 Even Nancy Pelosi claims that she had never thought of running \ 3’: i ‘— g A A A 2‘ U; E for office until she was encouraged to do so in 1987.30 _ ‘5' E o\° : El 2 8; gr 3 E § :53 Until recently, very little empirical research had explored the initial E, 8 E 3 i decision to run for office. But if the general election playing field is largely *5 H a g level, then gender differences in political ambition likely provide a crucial § +5 a *3 g explanation for women’s underrepresentation in Congress. In 2001 and 1:1- ‘5 E g g E 2008, Jennifer Lawless and I conducted the Citizen Political Ambition g ' é a E a g 59 § Panel Study. This is a series of surveys that ask women and men work— ‘ H ’— O U E Z 8 Von- ing in the three professions (law, business, and education) most likely to i 202 204 205 Richard L sional Elections ‘ng e5 IABLE‘7.7: Among potential candidates, women are less interested t'h '- ‘ ’ ' ., , a' men in seeking elective Office. :8; AmOng potential candidates, women are less Interested than hfnnning fOr the U.S; HO‘usebr Senate L ' ‘ 2001 2008 2001 2008 Women Men women Women Men Women Men % % % % % % % Has thought about running for office 36 7 i . I _ 55 36 7 ~ r - ould likel run for. . . Discussed running With party leaders 4 8 7 St office yiuRw resentafiz/Ies 5 10 3 7 Discussed running with friends and family 17 29 20 U'S' House 0 ep 2 4 O 3 Dilscudssed running with community 6 12 8 i-U’S. senate d ‘ f ea ers ed in some ay running or . . . Solicited 0, discussed financial 2 4 3 : us. House of Representatives 15 27 11 21 contributions with potential supporters 13 20 9 16 lnvestigated how to place your name on 4 10 6 1 816 11022 689 W 848 the ballot 1 Sample Size N res; Sample is composed of lawyers, business leaders and executives, and educators l,248 1,454 689 848 wfio indicated some degree of interest in running for office. Entries indicate percentage responding "yes." All differences between women and men are significant at p < .05. sources: Adapted from the Citizen Political Ambition Study. See Richard L. Fox and jennifer L. Lawless, "Entering the Arena: Gender and the Decision to Run for Office,” , American journal of Political Science, 2004, 48(2): 264—80. For 2008, see Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox, "Why Are Women Still Not Running for Public Office?” Brookings Institute Issues in Governance Studies 1 6, May 2008. Notes: Sample is composed of lawyers, business leaders and executives, and educate I rs. Entries indicate percentage respondin ” ” ‘ . _ _ g yes. All differences between w are Significant atp < .05. omen and men Sources: Adapted from the Citizen Political Ambition Stud - I y. For 2001, see Ri h and Jennifer L. Lawless, "Entering the Arena: Gender and the Decision to RuncfoarrdOfLi' F03: American journal of Political Science, 2004, 48(2): 264—80. For 2008 See Jennifleiei ’ Lawless and Richard L. Fox, "Why Are Women Still Not Running for Public Officer Brookings Institute Issues in Governance Studies 16, May 2008_ lik€1Y T0 emerge as Candidates» because women are far 1355 likely than men to consider running for office. 7 _ Further, when we consider male and female potential candidates’ interest in running for Congress, the gender gap in political ambition is amplified. Table 7.8 shows the interest of potential candidates in running for the U.S. House and Senate in both waves of the survey. Potential candidates were asked to identify what offices they would be most likely to seek first. They were also asked to identify which offices they might ever be interested in running for. For both questions, men were signifi— cantly more likely than women to demonstrate an interest in running for Congress. Men were twice as likely as women to name the U.S. House and US. Senate as the first offices they would run for. Again, the gender gap in interest in congressional offices persisted across both time periods. The one change between 2001 and 2008 was that both women and men expressed less interest in running for Congress overall, likely a result of the increasingly negative and partisan View of politics in Washington. Ultimately, three critical factors uncovered in the Citizen Political Ambition Panel Study explain the gender gap in ambition. First, women are significantly less likely than men to receive encouragement to run elective office. Table 7.7 shows some of the results of the survey, focusino on whether women and men have ever thought about running for office and whether they have ever taken any of the steps that usually precede a candidacy, such as speaking with party officials and community lead- ers. On the critical question of interest in running for office, the results of the study highlighted a substantial gender gap in political ambition The results of the most recent survey in 2008 reveal that there has been almost no change in the gap across the past decade. In 2001, there was a 19 percent gap, with men more likely than women to have thought about running for office. In 2008, the gap stood at 17 percent, Virtually unchanged. In terms of the concrete steps that a potential candidate rnioht take before running for office, the gender gaps on all of those measu:es were roughly unchanged across the time period. Even though all of the empirical evidence shows that women who run for officeare just as likely as men to be Victorious, a much smaller number of women than men are 206 for office. This difference is very important, because potential candidates are twice as likely to think about running for office when a party leader, elected official, or political activist attempts to recruit them as candidates. Second, women are significantly less likely than men to View themselves as qualified to run for office. In other words, women, even in the top tier of professional accomplishment, tend not to consider themselves quafi- fled to run for political office, even when they have the same objective credentials and experiences as men. Third, even among this group of pro- fessionals, women were much more likely to state that they were respon- sible for the majority of child care and household duties. Even though many of the women in the study had blazed trails in the formerly male professions of law and business, they were still serving as the primary caretakers of their homes. As a result, many women noted that they sim- ply did not have the time to even think about running for office.31 CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION When researchers and political scientists in the late 19705 and early 1980s began to study the role of gender in electoral politics, concerns about basic fairness and political representation motivated many of their inves- tigations. For many scholars, the notion of governing bodies overwhelm- ingly dominated by men offends a sense of simple justice. In this vein, some researchers argue that the reality of a male-dominated government suggests to women citizens that the political system is not fully Open to them. These concerns are as pertinent today as they were in the past. As Susan J. Carroll and I noted in the introduction to this volume, a growing body of empirical research finds that a political system that does not allow for women's full inclusion in positions of political power increases the possibility that gender-salient issues will be overlooked. Evidence based on the behavior of public officials clearly demonstrates that women are more likely than men to promote legislation geared toward ameliorat- ing women’s economic and social status, especially concerning issues of health care, poverty, education, and gender equity.32 Despite the substan~ tive and symbolic importance of women’s full inclusion in the electoral arena, the number of women serving in elected bodies remains low. This chapter’s overview of women’s performance in congressional elections makes it clear that we need to adopt a more nuanced approach if we are to understand gender’s evolving role in the electoral arena. As to answering this chapter’s central question of why there are still so few women in Congress, two broad findings emerge from the analysis. Richard L. Fox , M..mmu..«.n-,n,rw, rMWWmm/mu,41mmmayo,y;iWW,mwmwwg—wpmawmmmmwm m gnaw camera/fi-vmw as.” Congressional Elections l chapter continues to s 207 F‘ t on a more optimistic note, women now compete in U.S. House and irs , ate races more successfully than at any previous time in history. There sen differences in terms of the major indicators of elec- als and fund-raising. The evidence presented in this how that women and men general election candi- dates performed similarly in the 2006 and 2008 elections. On thebbasisf “he results of recent congressional elections, I confirm, as a num er 0 other Studies have found, that there is no evidence of Widespread gender :ias among voters and financial contributors. . . The second broad finding to emerge from this chapter, howpver, is that gender continues to play an important role in the electora_ arefna and in some cases works to keep the number of women rifinning or Congress low. Notably, there are sharp state and regional dif erencestin electing men and women to Congress. Women cannot emerge in grea :r numbers until the candidacies of women are embraced throughout t e entire United States and by both parties. Women’s full inclusion not be possible if the overwhelming majority of women candidates contmu: to identify with the Democratic Party. Recent dechnes in the number 0 women running as Republicans bode very poorly for the future, at least in the short term. Further, the almost impenetrable incumbency advan- tage and the dearth of Open-seat opportunities make the prospect for Spy sharp increase in the number of women serVing in.Congrelss dim. y, and perhaps most important, gender differences in political ambition.— particularly in the ambition to run for the U.S. Congress — suggest that Oender is exerting its strongest impact at the earliest stages of the electoral process. Many women who would make ideal candidates. never actually consider running for office. The notion of entering politics still appears not to be a socialized norm for women. As these findings suggest, gen- der permeates the electoral environment in subtle and nuanced ways. Broad empirical analyses tend to 0Verlook these dynamics, yet the reality is that these dynamics help explain why so few women occupy positions on Capitol Hill. are almost no gender toral success — vote tot NOTES 1 Gail Russell Chaddock and Mark Sappenfield. November 14, 2002. Pelosi Shatters a Marble Ceiling. Christian Science Monitor, 1. I 2 NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll. December 2002. <http://www.polling report.com> October 4, 2004. 3 Chaddock and Sappenfield, l. 208 4 Margaret Talev. November 8, 2006. Pelosi Likely NeXt Speaker; other T 5 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 E (3 :r N a o. ,. ..,., o X 0 .r Jobs up for Grabs. Seattle Times. USA Today/Gallup Poll. November 7—9, 2008. <http://VVWW.p011ingrepon .com> December 1, 2009. James Dao and Adam Nagourney. February 19, 2006. They Served, and NO They’re Running. New York Times, section 4, 1. Bryan Bender. February 9, 2006. Band of Democrats Touts Military ValuGS. W 40 Veterans Launch Bid to Serve Nation Again — In Congress. Boston Globe '_ ‘ A2. Shauna Curphey. March 22, 2003. 1 in 7 US. Military Personnel in Iraq is , Female. Women’s eNews. Anushka Asthana. October 7, 2006. A Political Opportunity for Women; Advocates Predict Gains in Congress and Push for More Participation. Wash. ‘1 ington Post, A9. Inter-Parliamentary Union. 2009. Women in National <http://www.ipu.org/wmn-e/classif.htm> June 30, 2009. Irwin Gertzog. 1984. Congressional Women. New York: Praeger, 18. For examples of experimental designs that identify voter bias, see Leonie Huddy and Nadya Terkildsen. 1993. Gender Stereotypes and the Perception ‘ i of Male and Female Candidates. American Journal of Political Science 37: 119— l 47; Leonie Huddy and Nadya Terkildsen. 1993. The Consequences of Gender Stereotypes for Women Candidates at Different Levels and Types of Office. Political ReSearch Quarterly 46: 503—2 5; and Richard L. Fox and Eric R. A. N. Smith. 1998. The Role of Candidate Sex in Voter Decision-Making. Political Psychology 19: 405—19. For a comprehensive examination of vote totals through the mid-1990s, see Richard A. Seltzer, Jody Newman, and M. Voorhees Leighton. 1997. Sex as a Political Variable. Boulder, CO: Lynne Reinner. Kathleen A. Dolan. 2004. Voting for Women. Boulder, CO: Westview. Jennifer Lawless and Kathryn Pearson. 2008. The Primary Reason for Women’s Under—Representation: Re-evaluating the Conventional Wisdom. Journal ofPolitics 70(1): 67—82. Barbara Burrell. 1985. Women and Men’s Campaigns for the US. House of Representatives, 1972—1982: A Finance Gap? American Political Quarterly 13: 25 1—72. Barbara Burrell. 1994. A Woman ’5 Place Is in the House. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 105. Carole Jean Uhianer and Kay Lehman Schlozman. 1986. Candidate Gender and Congressional Campaign Receipts. Journal of Politics 52: 391—409. Lauren Shepherd. February 18, 2004. Belk Hoping to Break through Glass Ceiling in Conservative Ala. The Hill. John Deeth. May 12, 2008. Miller-Meeks seeks to Break Iowa-Mississippi Jinx. Iowa Independent. Parliaments, Congressional Elections 209 21 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 Barbara Norrander and Clyde Wilcox. 1998. The Geography of Gender Power: Women in State Legislatures. In Women and Elective Ofiice, ed. Sue Thomas and CIYde Wilcox. New York: Oxford University Press. I Kira Sanbonmatsu. 2002. Political Parties and the Recruitment of Women to State Legislatures. Journal of Politics 64(3): 791—809. Barbara Palmer and Dennis Simon. 2008. The Political Glass Ceiling: Women and Congressional Elections, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge. Republicans Maintain a Clear Edge in House Contests. June 4, 2004. CQ kl . 22:31)); Sabato and David Wasserman. Crystal Ball 2006: The Predictions. Center for Politics, November 2, 2006. <http://www.centerlorpolitics.org/ crystalball/article.php?id=LJS2006110201> November 2008. Charlie Cook. 2008. Cook Political Report. <http://www.cookpolitical.com/ node/1774> February 15, 2009. Gary C. Jacobsen. 2004. The Politics of Congressional Elections, 6th ed. New York: Longlnan, 23. . Ronald Keith Gaddie and Charles S. Bullock. 2000. Elections to Open Seats zn the U.S. House. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 1. Reluctant to Take the Plunge. May 29, 2008. USA Today, 10A. Dana Wilkey. November 13, 2002. From Political Roots to Political Leader, Pelosi Is the Real Thing. Copley News Service. Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox. 2005. It Takes a Candidate: My Women Don ’t Run for Ofiice. New York: Cambridge University Press. For one of the most recent analyses of how women in Congress address dif- ferent policy issnes from those that men address, see Michele L. Swers. 2002. The Difi‘erence Women Make. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ' ...
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