State of the Texas Woman
What is the SOTW?
The State of the Texas Woman is a biennial report released after every midterm and presidential election. It contains important trends and patterns of women running for office down to the local level. Both quantitative and qualitative data points are reported, giving our readers a better understanding of what it takes to run for office in the Lone Star State. Currently, Lone Star Parity Project is the only entity to landmark a report with aggregated data down to the local level.
Our 2020 Findings
Filings in 2020
During the 2020 election cycle, 1091 women filed to run for office while 3788 men filed. This can also be roughly said as: for every woman that runs for office, 3 men also run. The gap in the number of women versus men filing for office is comparable to the gap in the number of women versus men winning elected seats. This indicates that when women run, they win at the same rate.
Primary Elections in 2020
Primary elections only exist in partisan elections, meaning candidates who run for a specific political party. Women make up 25% of primary winners, and 19% of primary losers. Democratic and Republican women both see an increase in the percentage of women who win their primaries from the percentage of women who file.
General Elections in 2020
In total, 570 women were elected in 2020. This means that over half of the total women who filed to run for office won. Of all elected women, 64.74% were Republican and 35.26% were Democrats. Republican women won at a higher rate than Democratic women in their general elections. This indicates that women running as Republicans in a partisan general election are more likely to win than women running as Democrats. Partisan elections tend to occur for county-level, statewide, and federal elected offices.
Currently, there are only ten different types of political elected offices across the state of Texas that have women serving at or above parity—meaning 50% or more of these seats in counties throughout the state are filled by women and femmes.
Out of 254 counties, only 9 counties elected women at parity or more and an additional 17 counties are near parity. 21.3% of all women elected in 2020 come from these near parity or parity counties. Click each map to expand.
Over 1000 women filed to run for office at the county level or higher in the State of Texas in 2020, only meeting 22.36% of total people filing for office. 570 women ended up securing an elected seat, meeting 22.29% of total people who won an elected county-level or higher seat in 2020. There were more Republican women filing, winning primaries, and becoming elected than Democratic women. This pattern by party is the same for men.
Qualitative Data Points
Each time we interview someone for our Features branch, we gather important qualitative data points, shedding light on the underlying characteristics of women and femmes in the Texas political sphere.
The inspiration to enter politics stemmed from the 2016 election
A majority of the women we interviewed indicated that the 2016 election cycle inspired them to become involved in politics. This was a pattern exemplified across Democrats, Republicans, and nonpartisan folks alike. Most of the candidates we interviewed further indicated that the hateful rhetoric shared during the election cycle motivated them to run for office.
Our moms are our first role models
Almost all of the women we featured said that their mom was their first role model. Interviewees looked up to their moms for their strength, determination, and passion. We heard the stories of moms who studied all night after working all day, who raised children as a single parent, and who advocated for others in the community.
Education and healthcare were the top community concerns
The top two issues facing interviewees’ communities were based in education and healthcare. The education related issues included student debt mitigation and school district transparency. The healthcare related issues centered around the accessibility of healthcare. Women across the political spectrum prioritized these issues.
Most common piece of advice: “Just do it”
When asked what advice our interviewees had for women aspiring to enter politics, the most common phrase was “just do it.” Interviewees encourage young women to follow their dreams and jump head-first into politics, regardless of their fears. Most interviewees compared their experience running for office or starting a movement as a “leap of faith.”
COVID-19 created an era of virtual campaigning
Running for office in 2020 looked drastically different because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most candidates cited that they had to shift their campaigning efforts to online-only platforms to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus. Our elected interviewees were forced to create new avenues of accessibility to constituents like virtual townhalls, online court hearings, and video call office hours.
We interviewed sixty-one incredible women and femmes, sharing the stories of student activists, elected officials, campaign gurus, and candidates alike. Scroll from left to right then click each feature to expand their picture and read their story.