US has More Female Governors than Ever Before

By Tara Thompson

This year, twelve women have been elected to serve as governors in the United States, a new record following the election on November 8th. There are currently nine female governors in the US with more on the rise from newly-elected Congress. The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University emphasizes the result of the election leaves only 18 states nationwide to have never had a woman serving as governor.

The newly-elected governors are:

Maura Healey: a Democrat for Massachusetts – will also be the first openly lesbian governor sharing the title with Oregon’s Gov.-elect Tina Kotek, who was also elected in the midterms.

Tina Kotek: a Democrat for Oregon, will give her state its second female governor in a row, after she secured a victory in a close race between her and two other women. Kotek previously earned the title of first openly lesbian woman to serve as a state House speaker.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: a Republican for Arkansas and former Trump spokeswoman – is projected to become Arkansas’ first female governor, a position once held by her father.

Kay Ivey: a republican for Alabama at 78 years old, she is currently the oldest U.S. governor in office. 

Katie Hobbs: a Democrat for Arizona who promised to fight for a repeal of Arizona’s 1901 abortion ban if elected, and painted herself as the antidote to far-right politicians like challenger Kari Lake, whom she argued would take the country backward. 

Kathy Hochul: a Democrat for New York, and the first female governor. She assumed office last year because she was Andrew Cuomo’s lieutenant governor when he resigned amid scandal. Now, she’s earned the distinction of the state’s first elected female governor. 

Kim Reynolds: a republican for Iowa elevated from lieutenant governor in 2017, when her predecessor resigned to become the Ambassador to China under Trump. After carrying out the remainder of his term as the state’s first female governor, Reynolds was elected to the position in 2018 and reelected this year.

Laura Kelly: a Democrat for Kansas, won her bid for reelection, earning an additional four years to her term. She promised to advocate reproductive rights if given the chance to continue serving.

Janet Mills: a Democrat for Maine became the state’s first female governor in the 21st century to earn more than 50% of the vote when she was elected to the position in 2018.

Gretchen Whitmer: a Democrat for Michigan, quickly entered the national consciousness in 2020 when she entered a feud with Trump over her COVID-19 shutdowns and made it on Joe Biden’s shortlist for vice president. 

Michelle Lujan Grisham: a Democrat for New Mexico will get a second term in office. The former U.S. representative and New Mexico secretary of health was reelected with 52% of the votes this time around, allowing her to continue serving the land she says her ancestors have inhabited for 12 generations.

Kristi Noem: a Republican for South Dakota the first woman governor, a former U.S. representative and possible 2024 presidential candidate was elected to the post in 2018 and can now serve four more years before terming out.

Other firsts for this this election include:

Republican Katie Britt will be elected as Alabama’s first woman to serve in the US Senate

Democrat Maxwell Frost, 25, will be the first member of Generation Z elected to serve in the US Congress

Democrat Wes Moore has also made history as Maryland’s first black governor

Republican Markwayne Mullin will be the first Native American senator from Oklahoma in almost 100 years.

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