GOP Women Update -- Guv & Statewide

There are only 6 women currently serving as state governors -- 3 Dems, 3 Repubs -- after Obama grabbed a couple for his cabinet and Sarah Palin resigned for... whatever the hell her reasons were. But there are lots and lots of opportunities this year: 37 states will hold gubernatorial elections, with the majority of those seats open due to term limits, retirements, or seeking other office.

Two of the three GOP incumbents are among those leaving: Linda Lingle of Hawaii from term limits, and Jodi Rell of Connecticut retiring. The third, Jan Brewer of Arizona, who inherited the seat when Janet Napolitano took the Homeland Security gig, is looking like a definite underdog to win a full term.

I am aware of Republican women running in only 11 states (including Arizona), of which 7, including Brewer, can be considered serious candidates.

Of those, one looks like a likely winner: Mary Fallin in Oklahoma.

There is one other likely primary winner: Meg Whitman in California. If she does win the primary, she will be the underdog against presumed Democratic nominee Jerry Brown.

Rita Meyer has a legitimate shot in Wyoming, with the GOP primary winner certain to win the general. Kay Ivey in Alabama, Karen Handel in Georgia, and Nikki Haley in South Carolina are all trailing in their primaries and seem like longshots to me.

So, basically after Fallin things don't look so good.

The GOP has also seen a decline in women holding other statewide elected offices, and that trend looks likely to continue.

According to the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers, there are currently zero female Republican state attorneys general. None. And as best as I can determine, the only women Republican AG candidates at this point are both running in a tough race for the open Florida position.

There are two elected Secretaries of State who are GOP women; there were three, but Karen Handel resigned to run for governor. Terri Lynn Land is term-limited in Michigan, so that leaves one, Beth Champan in Alabama who is running for re-election. There are, however, several legit candidates running, in Kansas, Michigan, New Mexico, Ohio, and South Dakota (plus a couple of real long-shots elsewhere). No sure things, but some chances to at least hold steady at three.

There are two state Treasurers, one of whom, Kay Ivey, is term limited out (and is running for governor); there are also two state comptrollers, both running for re-election. There is one no-chancer running for Treasurer in California, and one likely winner for comptroller in Illinois. Update: Oops -- oh yeah, there's also Karyn Polito running for Treasurer here in Massachusetts. My bad!

There are three state Auditors, two of whom are leaving to run for other offices and one (in Alabama) running for re-election. There are two running: Pat Anderson, with a legit chance in Minnesota, and Mary Connaughton, with an underdog's chance here in Massachusetts.

There are also currently three Republican women serving as Lieutenant Governors, one of who is on her way out. I see two serious possibilities: Adrienne King in Hawaii and Mary Taylor, who is John Kasich's running-mate in Ohio.

So it looks like each of the major statewide offices -- as with governor -- will likely end up with at most three women Republicans in office.

And finally, a couple of quick notes about state legislators. The number of Republican women state legislators has plummeted from 650 ten years ago to 608 five years ago to 511 today, according to CAWP data -- the lowest number since 1988, representing just 16% of all Republican state legislators.

In addition, there are no Republican women serving as state senate president or house Speaker anywhere in the country (compared to 11 Democratic women), and a grand total of just 7 serving as house or senate pro tempore, majority leader, or minority leader (compared to 33 Democrats). 

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