Calling 2018 a “Year of the Woman” has become so obvious that it’s almost cliché at this point, but another huge primary night for Democratic women last night makes it worth revisiting again.
With wins for female House candidates in Kentucky (Amy McGrath in KY-6), Texas (Lizzie Fletcher in TX-7 and Gina Ortiz Jones in TX-23) and also in Georgia, the total number of female House nominees is already up to 72 — with 62 of those being on the Democratic side.
To put that in context, as recently as 1990, 69 women overall represented a major party in the general election when all the primary contests were said and done.
At 72 nominees so far, we’re past that number already after primaries in only about a dozen states, with the lion’s share left to come in June and August.
Boston College political scientist David Hopkins noticed just how remarkable this percentage is compared to previous election years, writing that "we are witnessing a dramatic and historic change in the gender distribution among Democratic congressional nominees, caused by a rise in the supply of, and demand for, female candidates within the party in the wake of Trump's election (and Hillary Clinton's defeat). It's equally clear that this development is not occurring in parallel on the Republican side."
We dug into data from the Center for American Women and Politics and our own NBC News counts to replicate his work, and we also found a huge jump in the percentage of Democratic women who have been nominated so far compared to the total number of women representing their party in general elections going back to 1970.
As of last night’s primaries, more than 40 percent of Democratic nominees so far are women, compared to less than 10 percent for Republicans.
(Keep in mind that this is an estimate based on the total number of potential House nominees each election year, not accounting for races where one party may not have fielded a candidate at all.)
Here’s what we found: