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When it comes to women in politics, is Rhode Island an outlier?

With Gina Raimondo's likely run for governor, the role of women in Rhode Island politics will soon come into focus.

The state has a poor record of electing women to high office. Rhode Island and Maine are the only two New England states yet to see a woman in the governor's office. And the Ocean State is the only one in the region that has failed to elect a woman either governor or US Senator.

The failure to elect women to the state's most powerful posts matters. But is Rhode Island, as a whole, as much as an outlier as it might appear? The state's record of electing women to the state legislature suggests not. This year, the General Assembly is 27 percent female - slightly better than the nationwide average of 24 percent.

And female representation has climbed pretty steadily over the last eight years. In 2005, women made up 17 percent of the legislature.

Still, the climb to 27 percent is something of a reversion to form; in 1997 and 1998, women made up 26 percent of the General Assembly.

Year     State Rank     Total Women/Total Legislature     %Total Women

2013            17                             31/113                                  27.4%

2012            18                             29/113                                  25.7%

2011            20                             29/113                                  25.7%

2010            30                             25/113                                  22.1%

2009            29                             25/113                                  22.1%

2008            33                             22/113                                  19.5%

2007            31                             22/113                                  19.5%

2006            40                             19/113                                  16.8%

2005            37                             19/113                                  16.8%

2004            31                             23/113                                  20.4%

2003            32                             22/1113                                19.5%

Source: Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University

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