More Female Candidates Will Be On the Ballot in Jersey This Fall
There wasn’t a whole lot of interest in the Tuesday primary election in New Jersey, but it turns out it was very significant in one respect.
The Center for American Women and Politics reports a record 59 women — 38 Democrats and 21 Republicans — were victorious in the primary, and will be on the ballot running for the Assembly in November.
According to the director of the Center Debbie Walsh, the previous record for women general election candidates for the New Jersey Assembly was 52, set in 2017.
“It is an increase and we’re always happy when we see the trajectory in an upward direction," Walsh said.
The New Jersey State Senate does not have an election in this cycle.
Walsh said the current trend is “more women running for office, more women getting nominated and hopefully at the end of the day we’ll see more women elected.”
She said that for a long time New Jersey was in the bottom-10 states when it came to the proportion of women serving in the Legislature.
“New Jersey was down at the bottom with states like Alabama, Mississippi and Kentucky, but in the last decade or so we have seen New Jersey really have a bit of a renaissance — and we’re seeing more women now than we have in the past," Walsh said.
Walsh said New Jersey currently ranks 19th among the 50 states with regard to women's representation in its state legislature.
Right now there are 37 women serving in the state Legislature, comprising 30.8% of members, but Walsh said the total should be higher — “it’s important for fairness. Women make up 51% of the population.”
She said research conducted by the center shows women bring different life experiences to the offices that they hold.
“They have different priorities. They are more likely than their male colleagues to have as their legislative priorities issues that affect women, families and children," Walsh said.
Those issues include education, healthcare, childcare and equal pay, Walsh said — "and they’re looking at the world through that gendered lens, and it has an impact on how they see all policy.”
She said women are also more likely to work well across the aisle, and are more likely to believe that government should operate more transparently.
Walsh said women believe that “in addition to being there to represent their own constituents, that they have a responsibility to represent the voices of people that normally aren’t at the table.”