ALBANY, NY (WENY) – This year’s mid-term election set a new record for female governors. Across the nation, ten women were elected governor, and two races yet to be called, have female candidates on each side. Therefore, in total for 2023, the nation will have 12 women in gubernatorial offices.
The last record was set in 2004 when nine female governors served concurrently, according to the Center for Women in American Politics at Rutgers University.
“Any of these women who are Governor are really disrupting the idea of what an executive leader looks like. The kind of default image is an older white man, and these women are really breaking through that stereotype,” said Debbie Walsh, Director of the Center for American Women in Politics.
This week Kathy Hochul became New York’s first elected female governor. And she wasn’t the only one. Massachusetts and Arkansas also elected their first female governor.
The other states with elected female governors this year are Michigan, Kansas, New Mexico, Alabama, Iowa, South Dakota, and Maine. Arizona and Oregon continue to count ballots, with female gubernatorial candidates on each side.
Walsh said this year the governors race is even more important, following the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
“I think pre the Dobbs decision, abortion was not on voter’s minds in the same way because it was decided law. It was something that they didn’t think they needed to think about, turns out they did,” she said.
She added the Supreme Court decision in many ways put abortion on the ballot.
Walsh also highlighted that presidential candidates come from governors. She said the new record essentially creates a deeper bench for women to potentially become presidential candidates.