These Democratic women just won primaries in red states

By Rich Bellis

The Trump presidency has brought an unexpected change to politics: A record-breaking number of women are now running for elected office. And a surprising number of the Democratic women are running in typically Republican areas. While winning outright this fall will prove challenging, last night’s primaries brought many closer to competing in those general elections. Here are a few candidates of note:

     Stacey Abrams, the former Minority Leader of the Georgia House, who handily beat out Stacey Evans, a candidate reportedly favored by the Democratic establishment, in the race for governor. Abrams’s Republican opponent won’t be decided until July, but if elected, she’d be the first black woman to serve as governor of any U.S. state.

     Amy McGrath secured the Democratic nomination to compete in Kentucky’s 6th House district, besting another party-backed candidate, Lexington governor Jim Gray. McGrath, a former fighter pilot, has one hell of a battle ahead of her in a contest against Republican incumbent Andy Barr, who carried the district by 22% in 2016.

    Lizzie Pannell Fletcher raked in twice the votes as her more progressively oriented opponent Laura Moser, after a fierce race for the nomination to challenge nine-time Republican incumbent John Culbertson in Texas’s 7th, a Houston-area House district.

    Gina Ortiz Jones, who like Pannell Fletcher enjoyed the backing of Democratic power-brokers, defeated former high school teacher Rick Treviño in another Texas district, the 23rd. Ortiz Jones is an Iraq War veteran who’ll face off with Republican Will Hurd in November.

    Lupe Valdez will aim to unseat heavily favored incumbent Greg Abbott, who’s running for reelection as governor of Texas. Valdez, a former Dallas County sheriff, secured the Democratic nomination in a primary runoff last night, making her the first Latina and first openly gay candidate to secure a major party nomination in a Texas governor’s race.

It will be fascinating to watch how competitive these candidates prove in general elections, particularly those who defeated contenders that Democratic party strategists had deemed more competitive in conservative electorates.

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