Since 2016, 590 women ran for seats in the U.S. House and Senate and in gubernatorial races, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
A record-number of these female candidates won their party primaries and have advanced to general election match-ups this fall.
For instance, of the 476 women that ran for U.S. congressional seats this cycle, 239 won their primaries, breaking the previous record of 167 set in 2016.
Similarly, 16 women won nominations for gubernatorial seats this year. The last record was 10 total, set in 2010. By comparison there are currently only six female governors in office today.
Across the country, women candidates are running campaigns worth watching, and if successful, several will make history.
Here are just a few of these female candidates to watch:
Stacey Abrams (D)
Abrams is the Democratic Party candidate on the ballot in the Georgia gubernatorial race and if elected, would be the first black woman governor in the United States. She has the backing of President Barack Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.
Cindy Hyde-Smith (R )
Republican Hyde-Smith was appointed by Governor Phil Bryant to the Senate earlier in 2018 to succeed Mississippi Republican Thad Cochran, a longtime senator who stepped down amid health problems. She is running in a special election that will be held on Nov. 6, the same day as the regularly scheduled midterms. Candidates of all parties will compete on the same special election ballot. If none of them receive a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will head to a runoff. President Trump endorsed Hyde-Smith in August. If elected, Hyde-Smith will be the first woman elected to Congress to represent Mississippi in the state’s history.
Lucy McBath (D)
McBath is the Democratic Party nominee is Georgia’s 6th Congressional District, currently held by a Republican. A former national spokesperson for organizations that promote gun safety reforms such as Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, McBath first entered the political arena after her son, 17-year-old Jordan Davis, was shot and killed outside a gas station by a man who claimed Davis and his friends were playing their music too loud. She is endorsed by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Amy McGrath (R )
McGrath is the Democratic Party nominee for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District. A Marine Corps veteran with over 20 years of service, McGrath was the first woman to fly in an F/A-18 airplane on a combat mission. While in high school, McGrath pushed members of Congress to remove restrictions keeping women from combat. She attended the Naval Academy as did a number of other female veterans running in key races this year.
Maria Elvira Salazar (R )
Salazar is the Republican Party nominee for Florida’s 27th Congressional District. This Miami district was supposed to be an easy pick-up for Democrats, after long-time Republican Congresswoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced last year she was retiring. But then, the GOP put up a celebrity candidate to follow in Ros-Lehtinen’s shoes. Like Ros-Lehtinen, Elvira Salazar, is Cuban-American. She is also a former television news anchor.