Pennsylvania To Become Biggest All-Boys Club In Congress

Pennsylvania is set to become the largest all-male delegation in Congress this November as a result of Tuesday night's primary races.

Pennsylvania sends 20 senators and representatives to Congress each year, and Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D) is currently the only woman in the group. Schwartz gave up her seat this year to run for governor, but lost in the Democratic primary on Tuesday to businessman Tom Wolf. Wolf will challenge incumbent Gov. Tom Corbett (R) in November.

Former Rep. Marjorie Margolies (D), Chelsea Clinton's in-law, campaigned to replace Schwartz, but she lost in the primary to state Rep. Brendan Boyle. The seat is a Democratic stronghold, so Boyle is highly favored to win in November.

While Boyle is a Democrat, he has a mixed record on reproductive rights and was not the favorite of progressive women's groups. Earlier this month, EMILY's List and NARAL Pro-Choice America teamed up for the first time in their histories to oppose Boyle, citing his vote for an anti-abortion bill that has already forced five abortion clinics in the state to shut down.

Two other Democratic women-- Mary Ellen Balchunis and Kerith Strano Taylor-- will be challenging incumbent Republican Reps. Pat Meehan and Glenn Thompson, respectively, in November. But those districts are considered to be GOP strongholds.

Only four states -- California, Florida, New York and Texas -- have larger congressional delegations than Pennsylvania. But all of those states have at least two women in their ranks. Pennsylvania will be the most populous state to have all male congressmen and a male governor.

The current largest all-male delegation is Georgia, whose 14 representatives, two senators and governor are all men. Republican Senate candidate Karen Handel, the former Susan G. Komen executive responsible for ending the charity's breast cancer screening grants to Planned Parenthood, lost to two men in the primary for Sen. Saxby Chambliss' vacated seat on Tuesday. Businessman David Perdue will face Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) in a July runoff election.

If Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn manages to defeat Perdue or Kingston for Saxby's Senate seat in November, Georgia could add one female member to its delegation.

While a record number of women were elected to Congress in 2012, the total female membership of the legislature stands at just 19 percent. New Hampshire broke a glass ceiling in 2012 by sending the first all-female delegation to Congress and electing Gov. Maggie Hassan (D).

The women of Congress have turned out to be crucial negotiators. Despite making up only one-fifth of the Senate, female senators are said to have driven the compromise that reopened the federal government after last year's extended shutdown.

Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) made it clear at the time that having women at the table was a major advantage. "The truth is, women in the Senate is a good thing," he said. "We're all just glad they allowed us to tag along so we could see how it's done."

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that Georgia will send an all-male delegation to Congress in November. While the state currently has an all-male delegation, Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn is still in the running.

Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)

Women In The U.S. Senate

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