Hundreds of women candidates are ready to make history

“Emerge was able to train over 500 women to run for office in 2017. The group projects it will train over 600 women by the end of this year.”

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — Tracking hundreds of women candidates running in races at every level, in every U.S. state and territory, requires spreadsheets. Lots of spreadsheets.

Volunteers and staff at Emerge America‘s headquarters are following high-profile congressional races all the way down to women running to serve on their school district governing board, as a justice of the peace, or on their local neighborhood commission. Staff have already prepared congratulatory graphics and social media posts for every single candidate that they’ll publish through the night. Because, in their view, each of these women are important and every victory is noteworthy.

Long before the first ballots were cast, it was clear the surge in women candidates would be a major story of the 2018 midterm elections, regardless of the final outcome. Across the country and at every level, women stepped up to run for office with an enthusiasm and conviction never before seen in U.S. politics. Some, like Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, are breaking down barriers, forging the way for a more inclusive and representational government. Others, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, toppled well-established opponents in their first try. Candidates like Lucy McBathnever intended to run for office but felt called to serve after personal tragedy.

No matter what drew them to run, Emerge America helped many of the women appearing on Tuesday’s ballot get as prepared as possible for the moment. Their numbers are staggering: The organization has over 570 alumnae on the November 6 ballot, and 316 out of 438 alumnae won their primary races this year. According to Emerge, 61 percent of the women on Tuesday’s ballot are first-time candidates.