Women in Congress 2010

There are currently 75 women serving in the House, an all-time high but still less than 18% of the chamber as a whole. A similar percentage (17 of 100) of Senators are women. The female percentages have gradually crept up over the past 50 years, but with the Republican lean of this cycle, I wondered if we would see the number of women in Congress actually decrease in 2010, given that women are more likely to be Democrats. The State of the Female Lawmaker, below the jump.


Safe Female (by seniority)

Marcy Kaptur, OH-09

Louise Slaughter, NY-28

Nancy Pelosi, CA-08

Nita Lowey, NY-18

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, FL-18

Rosa DeLauro, CT-03

Maxine Waters, CA-35

Corrine Brown, FL-03

Anna Eshoo, CA-14

Eddie Bernice Johnson, TX-30

Lucille Roybal-Allard, CA-34

Nydia Velazquez, NY-12

Lynn Woolsey, CA-06

Sheila Jackson Lee, TX-18

Zoe Lofgren, CA-16

Sue Myrick, NC-09

Jo Ann Emerson, MO-08

Diana DeGette, CO-01

Kay Granger, TX-12

Carolyn McCarthy, NY-04

Lois Capps, CA-23

Barbara Lee, CA-09

Tammy Badwin, WI-02

Shelley Berkley, NV-01

Judy Biggert, IL-13

Grace Napolitano, CA-38

Jan Schakowsky, IL-09

Shelley Moore Capito, WV-02

Jane Harman, CA-36

Susan Davis, CA-53

Betty McCollum, MN-05

Marsha Blackburn, TN-07

Candice Miller, MI-10

Linda Sanchez, CA-39

Melissa Bean, IL-08

Virginia Foxx, NC-05

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, WA-05

Gwen Moore, WI-04

Allyson Schwartz, PA-13

Debbie Wasserman Shultz, FL-20

Doris Matsui, CA-05

Jean Schmidt, OH-02

Kathy Castor, FL-11

Yvette Clarke, NY-11

Mazie Hirono, HI-02

Laura Richardson, CA-37

Jackie Spier, CA-12

Donna Edwards, MD-04

Marcia Fudge, OH-11

Lynn Jenkins, KS-02

Cynthia Lummis, WY-AL

Judy Chu, CA-32

Otherwise Safe Female

CA-33–The retiring Diane Watson will be replaced by Karen Bass.

FL-24–Rep. Suzanne Kosmas has a female challenger in GOPer Sandy Adams

MN-06–Likewise, Michele Bachmann’s challenger is a woman, Tarryl Clark

SD-AL–Ditto for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin and Kristi Noem.

NY-14–Carolyn Maloney faces only a long-shot primary challenge, but it’s from a woman.

Likely/Leans Female Holds

Loretta Sanchez, CA-47

Mary Bono Mack, CA-45

Gabrielle Giffords, AZ-08

Betty Sutton, OH-13

Niki Tsongas, MA-05

Chellie Pingree, ME-01

Female Incumbents In Tossups/ Lean Male Takeover

Carol Shea-Porter, NH-01

Kathy Dahlkemper, PA-03

Debbie Halverson, IL-11

Mary Jo Kilroy, OH-15

Ann Kilpatrick, AZ-01

Betsy Markey, CO-04

Dina Titus, NV-03

Safe Male Takeover

Ginny Brown-Waite, FL-05

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, MI-13

Mary Fallin, OK-05


Safe Female Pickups

Terri Sewell, AL-07 (Artur Davis)

Diane Black, TN-06 (Bart Gordon)

Frederica Wilson, FL-17 (Kendrick Meek)

Lean/Likely Female Pickups

Jaime Herrera, WA-03 (vs. Denny Heck for the seat of Brian Baird)

Colleen Hanabusa, HI-01 (vs. Charles Djou)


Vicky Hartzler, MO-04 (vs. Ike Skelton)

Martha Roby, AL-02 (vs. Bobby Bright)

Julie Lassa, WI-07 (vs. Sean Duffy for the seat of Dave Obey)

Jackie Walorski, IN-02 (vs. Joe Donnelly)

Nan Hayworth, NY-19 (vs. John Hall)

Lean/Likely Male Holds

Annie Kuster, NH-02 (vs. Charlie Bass for the seat of Paul Hodes)

Ann-Marie Buerkle, NY-25 (vs. Dan Maffei)

Lori Edwards, FL-12 (vs. Dennis Ross for the seat of Adam Putnam)

Beth Anne Rankin, AR-04 (vs. Mike Ross)

Joyce Elliott, AR-02 (vs. Tim Griffin for the seat of Vic Snyder)

Paula Brooks, OH-12 (vs. Pat Tibieri)

Mariannette Miller-Meeks, IA-02 (vs. Dave Loebsack)

Stephene Moore, KS-03 (vs. Kevin Yoder for the seat of her husband, Dennis Moore)

Suzan DelBene, WA-08 (vs. Dave Reichert)


Safe Female Holds

Barbara Mikulski, MD

Kirsten Gillibrand, NY

Otherwise Safe Female Seats

Barbara Boxer, CA (vs. Carly Fiorina)

Leans Female Hold

Patty Murray, WA

Likely Male Takeover

Blanche Lincoln, AR

Lisa Murkowski, AK (Miller or McAdams, unless she wins as a write-in)


Leans Female Takeover

Kelly Ayotte, NH (vs. Paul Hodes for the seat of Judd Gregg)

Leans Male Hold

Sharron Angle, NV (vs. Harry Reid)

Robin Carnahan, MO (vs. Roy Blunt for the seat of Kit Bond)

Elaine Marshall, NC (vs. Richard Burr)

Linda McMahon, CT (vs. Richard Blumenthal for the seat of Chris Dodd)

Likely/Safe Male Hold

Christine O’Donnell, DE (vs. Mike Castle, then Chris Coons)

Roxanne Conlin, IA (vs. Chuck Grassley)


In the House, women will be lucky to break even. The certain losses of Kilpatrick, Watson, Brown-Waite, and Fallin will be made up for by the certain additions of Wilson, Bass, Black, and Sewell. However, there are 7 female incumbents in serious danger of losing to men and 6 more who cannot be considered safe at this point. The likely addition of Hanabusa, and somewhat likely addition of Herrera, will help somewhat, but if all or most of the endangered women lose it will be up to the likes of Lassa, Hayworth, et al to keep the number of women at 75.

In the Senate, the picture is similarly discouraging. There are two clear losses on the horizon, and only race in which women are favored to pick up a seat (NH, if Ayotte wins her primary.) If Republicans do even better than expected, it will help women in the Senate, as the additions of Angle and McMahon, plus Ayotte, would mean a net change of +1 woman.

Fun facts: Three of the four “Congresswidows” (women who succeeded their deceased husbands in the House) are from California (the fourth is from MO, home of the most recent Senate Widow,) and three women are running underdog Senate campaigns against men with the initials RB.  

By what margin will Bob Shamansky win?

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66 thoughts on “Women in Congress 2010”

  1. that California sends 19 women to Congress.

    In any case, if every single member of Congress were to retire and a whole new slate voted in, I’d guess the number of women would double at least.  Incumbency, and the low percentage of retirements, is preventing a more rapid shift.  Women may very well see their numbers break even this year, but I expect to see the number continue to grow in subsequent elections.

  2. It’s surprising that women make up such a small percentage.

    Anyway, good rankings, except for four in the House:

    Lean/Likely Male Hold to Tossup:

    FL-12: Edwards is a sleeper candidate. Sure, it’s a bad year for Democrats, but she might surprise a lot of people. She’s Blue Dog endorsed, so that helps her there too.

    Tossup to Lean/Likely Male Hold:

    MO-04: I don’t buy Skelton’s seat being a tossup.

    AL-02: I’ve “put most of my eggs in this basket” on this site. Bright’s lead in the polls, he’s to the right of Roby, and they both served on the City Council when he was Mayor and she was a Councilwoman, so she does not have the advantage some claim in that regards. Bright grew up in the deep red Wiregrass portion, which will help him out.

    IN-02: Isn’t this “Wacky Jacky” or something? I thought I saw that nickname mentioned on this site, though I don’t remember why.

  3. You don’t get many polls on forums in which opinion doesn’t go more than 60% one way.

    I wonder what the national result of that question would be – and how it would break down between men and women.

  4. Jane Harman shouldn’t be that high up on your seniority list. She was elected in 1992, left the House to run in the primary for Governor of California in 1998, and then returned to Congress in 2000. In your list it’s as if she never left.

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