Nov 2, 2023 - Politics

Women made up 42% of Michigan political donations in 2022

Share of 2022 campaign funds donated by women
Reproduced from Rutgers; Note: States with top-two or top-four primary systems were also excluded; Map: Axios Visuals

Women in Michigan — one of 12 states with a female governor — poured more money into political candidates during the last general election cycle than all but three states.

Why it matters: Women are not only underrepresented as political candidates across the country, they're also underrepresented as donors, Axios' Emma Hurt reports.

Driving the news: Women donors made up just 29% - 33% of the contributions to general election candidates at statewide and state legislative levels between 2019 and 2022.

  • That's according to a new report on the "donor gap" from Rutgers' Center for American Women and Politics using data from OpenSecrets.

Why it matters: While women are registered to vote at higher rates than men, they remain disproportionately absent from the halls of political power — and from the political donations fueling those halls.

Zoom in: Women made up 42% of political donations in Michigan's statewide races in the 2022 election.

  • Only women in Colorado (46%), Maine (43%) and Kansas (43%) gave more. Both of the latter states have women governors.

What's happening: The underrepresentation of women candidates and donors are entwined, Kira Sanbonmatsu, a Rutgers political science professor and the report's lead researcher, told Axios.

  • "We're not able to disentangle which comes first ... it's a mutually reinforcing relationship," she said.

State of play: Just 33% of state legislators are women. Only eight of the 28 governors running for re-election in 2022 were women.

The big picture: While the report found the disparity to be worse in some states — just 17% of Illinois' contributions in 2022 were from women — no state had contributions equivalent to its female population last year.

What they're saying: "Women are voting," Sanbonmatsu said. "They're interested in politics. They're engaged. They maybe haven't been recruited yet in this capacity."

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