Is 2018 "Year of the Woman" in politics

Is 2018 "Year of the Woman" in politics
Martha McSally announced her run for U.S. Senate. (Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - According to the progressive Emily's List website, 26,217 women have expressed an interest to run for office in the 2018 election cycle since last year's election.

In the race to fill Senator Jeff Flake's United States Senate seat, women have far outpaced men in attracting dollars to their campaigns.

Congresswoman Martha McSally, known as a prolific fundraiser, has announced she's entering the race.

The top three candidates with the most money in the bank are women. McSally joins Kelli Ward, a Republican and Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat.

Ever since the Women's March in Washington in January last year which drew 500,000 and another four million worldwide, the momentum has been gathering for women to run for office.

Democrats far outpace Republicans for Congressional seats in this election cycle and a preponderance of those are women.

Whether that support will translate to votes, nearly a year from the election, it's hard to predict, but many women feel it's time for women candidates.

"I think it's wonderful, " said Nancy Lyon, who was shopping for jewelry at a crafts fair. "I think it's about time, in fact its way past time."

That was the same sentiment throughout the fair.

"Good, it's about time" said Judy Bottler, a photographer and former trapeze artist for Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. "Actually it's way beyond about time. They should have done it years ago."

It's generally agreed, women have signed up to run following the 2016 election in response to President Trump's defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton.

But the surge in women candidates is also showing up on the Republican side of the aisle.

"Women have been in politics for a long time," said David Eppihimer, the chair of the Pima County Republican Party. "But the number and the percentages are growing."

He said the party is not actively seeking out women but they are coming forward on their own.

"They're stepping up," he said. "They want their voices heard."

But whether the momentum will continue through Election Day and lead to more women office holders is uncertain right now but Barbara Hatlelid, from Casa Grande, thinks it will.

"I think it's the best thing that could happen, we have a different view," she said. "No longer are we the good ol' boys, that's going to be going by the wayside."

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