In 2010, five women candidates for U.S. House from the major parties were on the November ballot in Minnesota, but this year the number will be down to two or three.
Writing in the Humphrey School’s Smart Politics blog, Eric Ostermeier notes that the state had made great leaps in this gender gap measure in recent years, but 2012 won’t continue the pattern.
Prior to 1998, there had never been two major party female nominees in the same cycle across all U.S. House districts in the state, let alone in the same race.
Since 1998, there have been at least two each cycle — with peaks of five such DFL and GOP nominees in 2004, 2006, and 2010 (DFLer Shelley Madore in the 2nd, DFLer Betty McCollum and Republican Teresa Collett in the 4th, and Bachmann and Clark in the 6th).
But this year, barring some unforeseen major upsets in intra-party primary challenges, only the two women incumbents, McCollum and Bachmann, are highly likely to be on the November ballot.
A third woman, Tarryl Clark, also has a chance: she’s one of three DFL candidates in the August primary vying to take on incumbent GOP Congressman Chip Cravaack in the 8th District.
“If Clark fails to win August’s primary, that would likely leave just McCollum and Bachmann as the only female major party nominees — a decline from five women to just two for these 16 ballot slots in one cycle,” Ostermeier wrote.
And he reminds us that only three women — McCollum, Bachmann and Coya Knutson (1954-58) have been elected to the House from Minnesota since statehood in 1857.
Amy Klobuchar, who is running for re-election, is the only woman to be elected from Minnesota to the U.S. Senate.