2012's Women To WatchS

A notable number of women are getting ready to run in 2012, The National Journal points out today. And not all of them are as far-right as Michele Bachmann!

Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY's List, pretty much explicitly made the connection: "I think that there are no other words to say other than the stakes have never been higher for American women...We've got women all over the country who are watching this thinking about [running], and it's an exciting time."

Just because more women seem to be running doesn't mean we'll get more women in office, as the piece points out: "Although 2010 saw a record number of female candidates in primaries, the last election was the first since 1978 that resulted in a drop in the number of women in the House—although only slightly, from 73 to 72."

Here's a few of the races to keep an eye on:

  • There's a Congressional seat in upstate New York vacated by Chris Lee (you can thank Gawker and Lee's Craigslist predilections for that). Two women are running in that special election: Republican state Rep. Jane Corwin and Democrat Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul.
  • California congresswoman Jane Harman resigned, but it looks like another woman is likely to replace her. The National Journal says, "The front-runners are both Democrats: California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Los Angeles City Council Member Janice Hahn. Progressive activist Marcy Winograd is also in the mix."
  • Former congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, a Democrat, is challenging Rep. Paul Gosar in Arizona.
  • West Palm Beach mayor Lois Frankel will try to unseat Rep. Allen West, Sarah Palin's BFF.
  • Sharron Angle is still running for political office. (This time for the House).

Speaking of women prone to soundbite-ready extremeness, Time has a profile of Michele Bachmann and her presidential bid. There's speculation that she might win Iowa and unsettle the race — not by taking the nomination, but by screwing with the math.

"She is bold and plainspoken and may turn out to be the only female in the Republican field. "There are a lot of ways she could do well in the Iowa caucuses," says J. Ann Selzer, the state's respected pollster. "She looks like change, and this is potentially a good year for that."

"Looks like change" could be code for "female" in a group of white dudes. Or it could mean "makes the others look completely rational for a change." Either way, it's another reminder that while we may cheer more women running for office, we may not cheer all of them individually.

Stepping Up [National Journal]
Michele Bachmann: The Minnesota Clipper [Time]