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

Democratic Women Gain Seats in California City Governments

Democratic Women Gain Seats in California City Governments

The number of women elected to office in November broke records at the state and national levels. Now, new data shows that women running for local office in California also exceeded expectations.

Women now make up just over 35 percent of all city council seats and mayorships in California. That’s according to public affairs research firm Grassroots Lab. Firm principle Robb Korinke said that’s the highest percentage since they began tracking municipal offices 10 years ago.

“Women are doing very well almost everywhere. They’re over performing their numbers in most corners of the state," he said. "One thing that really stood out to us was the Bay Area. In that nine county Bay Area, women were winning almost half the seats.”

Korinke notes women also won half, or nearly half, of their races in Sacramento, San Diego and San Luis Obispo counties. In Los Angeles County, women won 40 percent of their races, a 10 point gain.

Non-incumbent women did especially well. Of the more than 500 newly-elected officials, 42 percent were women. And there’s a clear partisan divide. Fewer than one in five of those women were Republicans. In fact, Korinke says the so-called Blue Wave has wiped out the GOP grip on local politics.

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“Republicans used to hold a big advantage in local elected offices kind of across the board that's no longer the case. This election cycle has really kind of cemented that," he said.

At the legislative-level, California added three women in the Assembly. Bringing the total number to 23 out of 80 seats. The state Senate saw the addition of two women, for a total of 13 women out of 40 seats. California also elected its first woman as Lt. Governor, Democrat Eleni Kounalakis.

According to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, at least 2,112 women will serve in state legislative offices around the country — a new high. The previous record was 1,879.

However, Republican women saw their numbers go down. CAWP finds the overall number of state legislative seats held by GOP women will decline by 45.

At the Congressional level, 18 women — all Democrats — will be representing California districts. That's an overall increase of one. Congresswoman Mimi Walters, the only Republican woman from California, lost her re-election bid this fall.

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