Is It Really The Year of the Republican Woman?

Republican "Wave" May Ebb

But for all the attention given to the Republican candidates for governor, it is a different story when the makeup of state legislatures and the Congress are taken into account, according Debbie Walsh, who runs the nonpartisan Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers. The center tracks female candidates nationwide. Read their assessment of the 2010 race so far right here.

VIDEO: Primary Results
Primary Results: Women Win at the Polls

Walsh said she applauds every woman running, but the numbers do not bear out a sweep of Republican women into office.

"What I don't want to see is a misconception that women are running everywhere and women are on the ballot in every state because that is not the case," she said from Louisville, Kentucky, where she was attending an annual gathering of state legislators from around the country.

It is true, she said, that more Republican women sought higher office this year than ever before. But they won't all be in office in November. "While we did have a record number of Republican women running, we've also had a record number of Republican women losing their primaries," said Walsh.

"Republican women tend to be more moderate than their male counterparts and they have a tougher time making it through primaries," she said, generalizing, but noting that a larger portion of the Democratic caucus is made up of women – 31 percent of Democratic state legislators are women, compared to 15 percent of Republican state legislators. 24 percent of all state legislators are women.

VIDEO: George Stephanopoulos on what to expect from the mid-term primaries.
The Bottom Line on 2010 Primaries

Regardless of a woman's party affiliation, Walsh said women make good governors.

"They make a difference when they get elected," she said. "They bring a different set of life experiences to the table in making policy."

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