Report Shows Women Ran, Won, and Donated in Record Numbers in 2020

December 22, 2020 by Sara Wilkerson
Rep. Mikie Sherrill, of New Jersey.

A joint report from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in Politics, non-profit organizations dedicated to researching and tracking election finance, reveals that women participated in record numbers during the 2020 election cycle. 

There are several key highlights derived from the report as well as from a previous joint report from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in Politics. They are: 

  • Between 2016 and 2020, the percentage of women candidates in gubernatorial and state legislative races saw a jump, from 25% to 32%. 
  • At least 142 women will hold seats in the next Congress, an all-time high. 
  • In 2020 races for the U.S. House and Senate, women candidates outraised men on average, while also nearly closing the gap in state-level contests. 
  • In 2020 races, women accounted for 33% of donations to congressional candidates and 31% of donations to state-level candidates, both records. 

When it comes to the increase in women candidates, the report notes that the trend is a continuation from the 2018 midterm elections, a record year in women running for office. 

Additionally, the report explains that most of the percentage gains were for women running as Democrats, with Democratic women making up, “44% of all Democratic candidates in 2020, up from 33% in 2016.” 

Democratic women were not the only ones who made significant gains in holding political office. 

According to the report, “Republican women also made gains in state races, though they were less pronounced. Women made up nearly 23% of 2020 Republican candidates, up from 18% in 2016.” 

Republican women made the biggest candidacy gain as challengers. “In 2016, nearly 19% of Republican challengers were women. That figure jumped to 27% in this year’s elections,” stated the report. 

While Republican women made gains as challengers, Democratic women showed consistent gains across the board as incumbents, challengers, and those running for open seats. 

Moving beyond the percentage increases for women in gubernatorial and state legislative races, the report discusses the gender parity gap in Congress. 

The report notes that while Congress has a long way to go to reach full gender parity, the 2020 election cycle did edge the legislative body closer to the goal.

“Congress made slight gains toward gender parity this cycle, due to the successes of both Republican and Democratic women in the House,” states the report. 

“In 2020 general election races, women made up 28% of House candidates and 25% of Senate candidates, both historic highs. That’s a shift from the 2016 election cycle, when 17% of congressional candidates were women.” 

When broken down by party, the report found that both parties made significant gains in the number of women running for the House of Representatives in particular. This year, 46% of all Democratic House candidates were women. Meanwhile, the proportion of Republican House women candidates “doubled to 22%” since 2016. 

When it comes to fundraising, the report’s analysis showed that women outraised their male counterparts in congressional races, and nearly matched men’s fundraising in state-level contests. 

For House candidates, women overall raised an average of $1.2 million, whereas men averaged nearly $820,000. For the Senate, women’s overall average was $6.2 million raised, while men averaged $5.8 million. 

Despite these higher averages in fundraising for women, the report emphasized that raising the most money for campaigns did not necessarily equal success in candidacy.

“It’s important to keep in mind that even when the amount of money candidates are able to raise and spend is equal between candidates, previous research has shown it takes even more money for women, especially women of color, to win elections,” emphasized the joint report. 

The report continues further stating, “In other words, women running for office are often required to raise more money than their male counterparts to achieve the same levels of success.” 

Besides raising money, women also donated to races in record numbers on a state and federal level. 

For state candidates, women made up “nearly 31% of 2020 donations, up from roughly 24% in the 2016 and 2012 contests.” 

On a state level, women candidates relied heavily on female donors, with 46% of women choosing to donate to women candidates. 

At the same time, on a federal level, contributions for federal races rose to 33% from women donors, a historic high compared to previous election cycles. 

Full details on the report can be read online via opensecrets.org

In The News

Health

Voting

Research

Virus's Impact: More Relaxing and Thinking, Less Socializing
Research
Virus's Impact: More Relaxing and Thinking, Less Socializing

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The eruption of COVID-19 last year caused the proportion of people working from home in the U.S. to nearly double, with the shift most pronounced among college graduates and workers in such fields as finance and professional services. The share of employed... Read More

Striking Vulnerability to COVID-19 Found in Diabetics
Research
Striking Vulnerability to COVID-19 Found in Diabetics
July 22, 2021
by Reece Nations

One of the more disturbing trends of the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is the susceptibility of diabetic Americans to the virus. Researchers at The University of Texas at El Paso conducted a study that indicates unmanaged diabetes is a decisive element of COVID-19 severity and complications,... Read More

Pandemic Drives Largest Drop in Life Expectancy Since WWII
Health
Pandemic Drives Largest Drop in Life Expectancy Since WWII
July 21, 2021
by Dan McCue

U.S. life expectancy fell by a year and a half in 2020, the largest overall decline since World War II, the Centers for Disease Control reported Wednesday. The decline to 77.3 years was driven by the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics said.... Read More

Researchers Find COVID can Cause Disruption in the Brain
Science
Researchers Find COVID can Cause Disruption in the Brain
July 16, 2021
by Alexa Hornbeck

Stanford researchers recently published a study which examines the brains of those who died from COVID-19, finding they resembled those with Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative conditions.  “We want to understand how the brain responds to this virus and people with severe disease, and it was a... Read More

Virologists Urge Finding COVID-19’s Origin To Prevent Future Pandemics
Congress
Virologists Urge Finding COVID-19’s Origin To Prevent Future Pandemics
July 14, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON -- A congressional panel called a group of virologists together Wednesday to figure out the source of the COVID-19 virus but ended their hearing by concluding they still don’t know. However, they did agree the virus that has killed more than four million people worldwide... Read More

US Overdose Deaths Hit Record 93,000 in Pandemic Last Year
Research
US Overdose Deaths Hit Record 93,000 in Pandemic Last Year

NEW YORK (AP) — Overdose deaths soared to a record 93,000 last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. government reported Wednesday. That estimate far eclipses the high of about 72,000 drug overdose deaths reached the previous year and amounts to a 29%... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top