There’s a whole lot of fanfare about the spike in women running for office this year, but here’s the cold, hard truth: Not every woman will win. In fact, at least 33 women will lose, because they’re running against other women.
A total of 33 congressional races will end in a face-off between two women on Tuesday, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, but only a few races are truly competitive: Many are taking place in districts and states rated solidly Democratic or Republican by the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. This Election Day, keep an eye on these tight woman vs. woman races.
All race ratings are supplied by the Cook Political Report.
Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is battling Republican Rep. Martha McSally for the “toss-up” state and the chance to become Arizona’s first female senator. This is, by far, the biggest woman vs. woman race of the midterms, and the dead heat between Sinema and McSally is matched only by their feverish attacks on one another. (McSally, a former fighter pilot, not only slammed Sinema for wearing a “protesting us in a pink tutu,” but at one point accused Sinema of supporting treason.) McSally currently leads Sinema by a hairline .2-point lead, a Real Clear Politics polling analysis found.
Republican state legislator Karin Housley is trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Tina Smith in this “lean Democratic” state, which Smith has represented since taking over for disgraced former Democratic Sen. Al Franken. According to a Real Clear Politics analysis, Smith is enjoying a seven-point lead over Housley, who once compared Michelle Obama to a “chimp” on social media.
Arizona — 2nd Congressional District
Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick and Republican Lea Marquez Peterson are competing for this “lean Democratic” open seat. One New York Times poll discovered that Kirkpatrick had an 11 percent lead, though 10 percent of voters remain undecided.
California — 45th Congressional District
Democrat Katherine Porter is trying to wrench this seat away from incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters. She just might do it: A few polls have found that Porter has a slight lead in the “toss-up” district.
Florida — 27th Congressional District
Republican Maria Salazar and Democrat Donna Shalala both want this open seat, which was held by retiring Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen for decades. Ros-Lehtinen, the first Latina and Cuban-American elected to Congress, was long seen as a miracle — no Republican was expected to hold onto this “lean Democratic” Miami district. Accordingly, a small New York Times poll in October found that the district is tilting in Shalala’s favor, but 15 percent of voters remain undecided.
Georgia — 6th Congressional District
Democrat Lucy McBath is running against incumbent Republican Rep. Karen Handel for this infamous, “toss-up” district in the Atlanta suburbs. Last year, after Tom Price vacated the seat and triggered a special election, Democrats spent $32 million helping Jon Ossoff lose the district to Handel. (The race marked the most expensive House election in history.) Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, a Michael Bloomberg-backed gun control group, has spent millions supporting McBath, who worked as a spokesperson for the group after her son was shot and killed by a white man angry about loud music.
Michigan — 11th Congressional District
Democrat Haley Stevens is leading Republican Lena Epstein by about 3 points in this “toss-up” of an open seat, according to a Real Clear Politics polling analysis.
New Mexico — 2nd Congressional District
Republican Yvette Herrell and Democrat Xochitl Torres Small are neck-and-neck in their “toss-up” contest for this open seat, an Albuquerque Journal poll found. That’s somewhat surprising, given that the Republicans have held the seat pretty much uninterrupted since 1981.
Virginia — 10th Congressional District
Democrat Jennifer Wexton is expected to defeat incumbent Republican Rep. Barbara Comstock, who’s scrambling to win a third term in this “lean Democratic” district. Hillary Clinton won the suburban district by 10 points, and Democrats are crossing their fingers that its wealthy, college-educated voters will turn out for their candidate through once again. The New York Times’ Lisa Lerer dubbed the district a “midterm canary” — if Wexton blows Comstock out of the water, Republicans should settle in for a long, long night.
Washington — 3rd Congressional District
Republican incumbent Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler is trying to hold off Democrat Carolyn Long in this “lean Republican” district. A modest New York Times poll found that Herrera Beutler has a 7-point lead, but she picked up fewer votes than Long in the Washington primary, which is not segregated by party.
Washington — 5th Congressional District
Republican incumbent Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers might be the fourth-highest ranking Republican in the House, and the nation’s leading elected Republican woman, but she won her primary against Democrat Lisa Brown by less than one percentage point. The district remains rated “lean Republican.”
Cover image: Democrat U.S. Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema gestures on the field before the game between the Utah Utes and the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium on November 3, 2018 in Tempe, Arizona. Sinema is running against two-term congresswoman Martha McSally. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.