Ahead of Nov. 6: First-Time Women Candidates Reflect on 'The Long Run'

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A collection of photos submitted by women running for office this year as part of our series, "The Long Run." (Images courtesy of candidates)

Record numbers of women have been energized to get involved in politics since the 2016 presidential election. KQED decided to help tell those women’s stories and asked our audience to join us in this endeavor we're calling “The Long Run.” We chose four women across the state to share their experiences with us, checking in with them over the course of their campaigns.

Before the polls close on Tuesday, these candidates reflect on the lessons they've learned on their first campaign. Here are some highlights from their journey, (and for more stories, check out the audio for each candidate):

Betty Valencia is running for Orange City Council

Betty Valencia (right) with a supporter in the city of Orange, California.
Betty Valencia (right) with a supporter in the city of Orange, California. (Courtesy of Betty Valencia)

"As an immigrant, Latina, queer candidate, I expected some resistance. I was not, however, prepared for the extent of some of the comments ... I was told I was a cancer. I was told I was poison. Those are hard things to to take when you really have a mission and a goal: to to be the best you can be."

Aisha Wahab is running for Hayward City Council 

Aisha Wahab is running for Hayward City Council.
Aisha Wahab is running for Hayward City Council. (Jack Owicki)

"We've had our car broken into. We've had some incredibly insensitive comments made to us. You're targeted for what other people perceive you to be ... The reality is that you know who you are, you know why you went into these campaigns."

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Janelle Horne is running for recorder-clerk in El Dorado County

Janelle Horne is making her inaugural bid for recorder clerk in El Dorado County.
Janelle Horne is making her inaugural bid for recorder clerk in El Dorado County. (Courtesy of Janelle Horne)

"My opponent's campaign, however, has gone down the negative road and it's very disappointing. But my message is very strong and we are sticking to it and we have. I've informed my supporters and my committee that we will not go down that road because it is all about public service not politics."

Myel Jenkins is running for San Juan Unified School District Board in Sacramento County

Myel Jenkins
Myel Jenkins (Courtesy Myel Jenkins)

"I'm strong I'm fierce. I have an opinion. I have a voice. I can help make change. And that has been so empowering. So no matter what the results are on Nov. 6, this has been transformative."