There is a wave of women running for public office in Texas this year.
As The Texas Tribune reported last week, about 50 women have filed to run for Congress. Patsy Woods Martin, the executive director of Annie’s List, says there is the same trend in races for the Texas Legislature.
Annie’s List reaches out to women and helps them launch political campaigns. Martin says recruiting women to run for public office typically takes a lot of work.
“What research shows is that women are not likely to self-nominate … for running for office or in many cases leadership positions,” Martin says.
Usually, she says, it helps if someone in their community asks them to run, which is what Annie’s List tries to do. This year, Martin says, that work got much easier.
“We have seen an incredible surge in interest over the course of this last year,” she says. “No one was prepared for what happened almost a year ago with the women’s marches around the state, particularly in Austin. And we were able to turn that energy into getting more women interested in running for office.”
Martin says in 2016, about 76 women ran for seats in the Texas Legislature. This year, there are about 110 women who signed up to run.
These women are running for a lot of reasons, she says, but mostly because they feel things have changed since Donald Trump was elected.
“Women look up and they say, ‘If a guy like Donald Trump, who has no experience and is not traditional (to be kind), can get himself elected president of the United States, surely I can get myself elected to the statehouse,” she says.
Bryan Lesswing, the director of campaign communications with the national group EMILY’s List, says he sees the same thing happening nationwide.
“It’s an historic moment for EMILY’s List and, frankly, women across the country,” he says.
Lesswing says between 2015 and 2016, about 920 women approached EMILY’s List about running for office.
“However, since Election Day 2016, more than 26,000 women have approached EMILY’s List about running for office,” he says, “and that number is close to 1,000 in Texas.”