Press Release

Women Make Few Inroads to the General Assembly in Pennsylvania Politics

Posted in In the News, Press Release, Women in PA on May 23rd, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

May 23, 2014
For Immediate Release

PITTSBURGH— When the dust settles from the 2014 Pennsylvania Primary Election, voters will find relatively few women among their choices in the general election this fall. Of the 94 Republican and Democratic women who sought their party’s nomination for state legislative offices in the primaries, 73 were successful and will move on to the general election. This number represents 22.7 percent of the total number of general assembly candidates.

Notably, neither of the two women seeking the Democratic nomination for governor—U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz and former state Environmental Protection Secretary Katie McGinty—came within striking distance of the successful nominee, businessman Tom Wolf. Wolf received a solid 58 percent of the vote in a four-way primary. With Schwartz and McGinty out of the running, Pennsylvania will extend its history of never having had a woman governor. There are also no women candidates for lieutenant governor.

Six women (R1, D5) did capture nominations for the U.S. House of Representatives. The success of these newcomers—Megan Rath (R), Linda Thompson (D), Kerith Strano-Tayler (D), Mary Ellen Balchunis (D), Alanna Hartzok (D), and Erin McClelland (D)—will determine whether or not Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation includes a woman. Schwartz is currently the only woman in the 20-member delegation (both U.S. Senators and 17 of the state’s 18 U.S. Representatives are men). Schwartz chose to seek the gubernatorial nomination rather than a sixth term in Congress.

In the state legislature, 9 of the 13 women seeking nomination for the 25 state senate seats up in 2014 were successful. Incumbents Sen. Lisa Baker (R), Sen. Lisa Boscola (D), and Sen. Christine Tartaglione (D) won, as did current state representatives now seeking a senate seat: Rep. Michele Brooks (R) and Rep. Deberah Kula (D). In the state house, 81 women put their names on the ballot for one of the 203 seats. Of these, 64 (R23, D41) were successful and will proceed to the general.  All but one of the incumbent women in the State House who sought re-election were re-nominated, and they are joined by 31 challengers.

Dana Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University explains that, “We had hoped more women would be successful in their bids and are now concerned that this could mean Pennsylvania’s already historically-low levels of representation of women in government will be further eroded.”  Today, only 17.8 percent of the state legislature is women and there is only one woman serving as a statewide elected official and one in the congressional delegation. According the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, the state ranks 38th in the nation for the percentage of women in the state legislature.

Ms. Brown states, “Research shows that, typically, when women run, they win at the same rates as men. Thus, if the state is going to increase the number of women holding public office, it still needs more women candidates.” The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) supports women considering seeking elective office with the Ready to Run™ Campaign Training For Women programs. Since 2012, the PCWP has hosted these campaign trainings in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, giving women the education, insights, and skills they need to embark on a successful campaign.

More than 250 women have participated in the Ready to Run™ program in the three years the program has been offered by the PCWP. Additionally, the program had 16 alumnae who filed to run for various elective offices in the 2014 primary election and 10 were victorious. Two Ready to Run alumnae won their nomination for a congressional seat (Erin McClelland (D) and Kerith Strano-Taylor (D)); and 8 alumnae won their races for the state legislature.

The 2014 Pennsylvania General Election is set for Tuesday, November 4.

For more information about the PCWP at Chatham University or Ready to Run™ Campaign Training for Women, please contact Dana Brown, Executive Director at 412-365-2725 or dbrown@chatham.edu.

Pennsylvania 2014 Primaries Feature More Than 400 Women Candidates for Office

Posted in In the News, Press Release, Women in PA on April 23rd, 2014 by admin – Be the first to comment

April 23, 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Pennsylvania 2014 Primaries Feature More Than 400 Women Candidates for Office

PITTSBURGH—Pennsylvania has never elected a female governor, but in 2014 there are two women vying for the office in the Democratic Primary. These two women—Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Montgomery County) and Katie McGinty, former Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection—join more than 400 other women in pursuing elective office in the state.

Of the 1143 candidates who have filed to run in the 2014 primary, 402 (35 percent) of them are women. Of this number, two (Schwartz and McGinty) have filed for their party’s nomination for Governor, 11 for U.S. House of Representatives (9D, 2R), 13 for State Senate (9D, 4R), and 81 for State House Representative (50D, 31R). These numbers represent 39 incumbents, four current or former officeholders seeking a new or higher office, and 64 new candidates. Another 144 and 151 women are seeking spots on the state’s Democratic and Republican State Committees, respectively. As is fairly typical nationwide, more women candidates for elective office affiliate with the Democratic Party (27 percent) than the Republican Party (16 percent) in the state.

Dana Brown, executive director of the Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics at Chatham University explains that, “Pennsylvania has had historically-low levels of representation of women in government. Today, only 17.8 percent of the state legislature is women and there is only one woman serving as a statewide elected official and one in the congressional delegation.” According the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, the state ranks 38th in the nation for the percentage of women in the state legislature.

Ms. Brown states, “Research shows that when women run, they win at the same rates as men. Thus, if the state is going to increase the number of women holding public office, it needs more women candidates.” The Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics (PCWP) supports women considering seeking elective office with the Ready to Run® Campaign Training For Women programs. Since 2012, the PCWP has hosted these campaign trainings in both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, giving women the education, insights, and skills they need to embark on a successful campaign.

More than 250 women have participated in the Ready to Run® program in the three years the program has been offered by the PCWP. Additionally, the program has 23 alumnae who have filed to run in various offices in the 2014 primary election, including incumbent state legislators Rep. Erin Molchany (D-Pittsburgh) and Rep. Mary Jo Daley (D-Narberth). Eleven alums are running for state legislative positions and five are vying for a congressional seat. The remaining alumnae are getting a start in partisan politics by seeking a spot on their party’s state committee. Voters cast their ballots in this year’s primary elections on May 20th.

For more information about the PCWP at Chatham University or Ready to Run® Campaign Training for Women, please contact Dana Brown, Executive Director at 412-365-2725 or dbrown@chatham.edu.