A historic number of women of color are running for U.S. Congress in 2020.
This year, at least 266 women of color are major-party candidates for Congress — shattering the previous record of 179 women of color who ran in 2018, according to a report released Wednesday by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
With candidates’ filing deadlines passed in all 50 states, the report reflects the total filed major-party candidates, including women who ran and already won or lost their primaries, as well as those who still have primaries to come.
The number of women of color — who identify as Black, Latina, Asian or Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern or North African, Native American or multiracial — running for the U.S. House jumped from 167 in 2018 to 248 this year. For the Senate, at least 18 women of color are running in 2020, compared with 12 in 2018.
The last congressional elections in 2018 broke numerous records for racial and gender representation in Congress. The current Congress is the most diverse ever, with history makers such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman elected to Congress; Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, the first Muslim women in the body; and Deb Haaland and Sharice Davids, the country’s first Native congresswomen.
This year, a number of women of color have already won primaries, including Cori Bush, a Black progressive candidate and activist who unseated Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay in Missouri on Tuesday. Other women of color face primaries ahead, including Keeda Haynes in Tennessee, whose primary is Thursday and who hopes to become the first Black woman the state sends to Congress.
This year has also seen more women overall running for Congress than ever before — shattering 2018’s record. In 2020, 583 women are major-party candidates for the U.S. House — a nearly 23% increase from the previous record of 476 women who ran two years ago.
But there are still strides to be made for women’s representation in politics: Though women make up over 50% of the U.S. population, they are only 30% of House candidates and 24% of Senate candidates this year.
This year also has seen a record number of Republican women running for Congress. However, women still make up a higher percentage of Democratic candidates (38% of Democratic House candidates and 31% of Democratic Senate candidates) than of Republican candidates (21% of Republican House candidates and 17% of Republican Senate candidates).
With the current 116th Congress, sworn in after the historic 2018 election, the most diverse in history, it remains to be seen after November’s election if this next Congress will be even more diverse.
CORRECTION: We revised figures per a correction provided by the authors of this report, after one woman of color candidate did not make it to the ballot.