Feb 3, 2022 - News

Women elected to office hits new high mark in Colorado

Data: Center for American Women and Politics; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Women held elected office in Colorado at the end of 2021 at near-record levels in the last 50 years, a new Axios Denver tally shows.

State of play: 48 women held office at the federal or state level β€” from Congress to the state Legislature, we found by analyzing numbers from the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.

  • Two more women served last year but resigned before the end of the year.
  • Colorado currently ranks fifth in the country for the number of women state lawmakers at 44 out of 100 β€” 37 Democrats and seven Republicans.
  • Republican women outnumbered their Democratic counterparts for three periods, but GOP representation has fallen to near 50-year lows.

What they're saying: Debbie Walsh, the center's director, said Colorado is an example of the rise of women in politics, particularly since the 2016 election.

  • "It's not rocket science … you have to be in it to win it," she says. "You have to have candidates to have winners. And we really had this plateauing of candidates that went on for a really long time."

What to watch: The 2022 election could increase Colorado's mark.

  • Women from both parties are competing for two open U.S. House seats in the 7th and 8th districts.
  • And GOP women are running for governor and U.S. Senate, two positions where Colorado has never elected a woman.

Yes, but: Still, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and Gov. Jared Polis, both Democrats, are favored to win in November.

The bottom line: If trends continue, "we should see an increase again in the number of candidates, which we hope would increase the number of officeholders," Walsh says.

This story first appeared in the Axios Denver newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard. Subscribe here.


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