Ballot Shows More Women Seeking Election Than in 2014

More women are seeking public office in this year’s primary election, according to data from the Maryland State Board of Elections.

Data from the state’s 2018 gubernatorial primary election candidates list shows approximately 120 women are running in the June 26 primary. That’s a nearly 50 percent increase compared to the 2014 gubernatorial primary election when roughly 81 women ran for public office. 

The figures include women who are seeking re-election, seats in Maryland House of Delegates and State Senate, Congress, the Montgomery County Council, and statewide offices such as governor and lieutenant governor.

Susan Heltemes, a civic activist, attributes part of the increase to the last presidential election. 

“Hilary Clinton is not in the White House, but she won the popular vote over Donald Trump, and I think women are enlightened and excited by that,” she said. “Look at what’s going on in the White House.  It’s offensive to women and I think they’re saying, ‘No, we’re not going to shut up, we’re going to take control.’ “

In addition to being motivated by the election of President Trump, Heltemes said more women are on the ballot due to higher self-esteem. 

“Women have come to the conclusion that they’re darn good and can do just as good as men.” 

Despite the increase, Bobby Lipman, who helps to oversee MoCo Voters, a nonpartisan organization that opposes big money donations in political campaigns, said not enough women are running. 

“I think right now, we are in a period of transition,” Lipman stated. “Money makes it harder for women in politics but I think public financing will level out the playing fields over time and will provide more opportunities for women to run for office.”

In 2014, the Montgomery County Council established a public election fund to provide public campaign financing for candidates running for Montgomery County Executive and the Montgomery County Council. The goal in establishing the measure was to increase opportunities for more residents to run for office.

“We need more women in office to reflect the diversity of our community and I think public financing will do just that,” Lipman said.

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Mitti Hicks

About Mitti Hicks

Mitti Hicks is a multimedia journalist and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media. She is passionate about telling stories that impact our community and may be reached at and on Twitter @mittimegan.


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