Amid a so-called "pink wave" election year rocked by political sexual harassment scandals and the subsequent #MeToo movement, female candidates appear to be resonating with voters, winning almost every Democratic primary in contested races on Tuesday.
There were 27 open Democratic House primaries and voters selected a female nominee in 17 of them, according to ABC News’ count. Overall, “pink wave” candidates’ in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia won one-third of U.S. House nominations.
Women are running for federal office in record numbers in 2018. Nationally, nearly 500 women, both Republican and Democrats, are running for Congress this year, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
However, political experts predict the road to victory will not be easy.
Despite garnering the votes to face their opponents in the primaries, many of Tuesday’s victors are running for seats deemed solidly Republican.
Both Democratic women nominees in West Virginia will challenge Republican incumbents in deep-red districts.
Kendra Fershee, a West Virginia law professor, who will take on Republican incumbent David McKinley this fall, celebrated her victory Wednesday morning, writing on Facebook, “I woke up so incredibly grateful today.”
She added, “We’ve got a ton of work to do and things will be hard at times.”
Nonetheless, last night’s outcome foreshadows 2018 is indeed panning out to be the “Year of the Woman.”
Among the 27 women nominees for the U.S. House in Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio and West Virginia, eight are black women, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University's "Gender Watch 2018".
Jeannine Lee Lake, the first African American to win a party nomination for Congress in Indiana’s 6th Congressional District, will face Republican Greg Pence, the brother of Vice President Mike Pence, who held the seat for 12 years before being elected governor of the Hoosier State.
“We are excited. We are thankful. We are ready for the next step,” Lake, 48, tweeted.