Catching Up On GOP Women

Just before I went on vacation, Diane Black narrowly won the GOP primary in the Tennessee 6th congressional district, making her the very likely successor to retiring Democrat Bart Gordon in that Republican-leaning district. Black thus becomes the first likely female member of the 2011 Republican freshman class. Not quite justifying the whole "Year of the Republican Woman" claims, but hey, it's a start.

On the downside, Robin Smith lost the primary in the Tennessee 3rd; she was one of the last, best hopes of a woman GOP nominee in any of the 20 open Republican seats. There are viable, although underdog, opportunities in next week's Arizona and Florida primaries, but a male sweep of those primaries looks increasingly likely.

While I was away, Linda McMahon finalized her nomination for US Senate in Connecticut, and even got a polling bounce that suggests victory is not a complete impossibility. However, Jane Norton came up short in Colorado's Senate primary, as did Karen Handel in the Georgia gubernatorial primary runoff. Tomorrow, Rita Meyer tries to win the GOP primary in Wyoming.

Bymy count, 323 congressional districts, or roughly 75%, have held their primaries. 34 women have emerged as GOP nominees: 12 incumbents, and 22 challengers. Of those 22, 16 are in safe Democratic-held districts. Black, as I mentioned above, is the first and thus far only one considered more likely than not to win in November -- or even a tossup.

None of the other 5 are in, for example, The Fix's Chris Cillizza's new Top 30 list of districts most likely to flip parties. A similar Top 64 list last week, by ABC News's First Read, has Kristi Noem's SD-AL district at 25th most likely; Martha Roby's AL-2 at 34th; Jackie Walorski's IN-2 at 49th; Vicky Hartzler's MO-4 at 61st; and Beth Ann Rankin's AR-4 not making the list.

There's a good chance that Jamie Herrera will win tomorrow's primary in Washington State's 3rd district (44th on the First Read list), and there are a couple of other legitimatecontenders in equally iffy districts still to come. Stay tuned.

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