2018 Ohio Governor race could see record number of females

Even though the race is still a year-and-a-half away, three women have already joined -- all on the democratic side

FILE - In this Wednesday, April 1, 2015, file photo, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks in Columbus, Ohio. As the Democratic Dayton Mayor joined the race for governor Monday, May 8, 2017, and with Republican Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor expected to join the contest, the battleground state could see a record number of female candidates on next year’s ballot for Ohio’s highest state office. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, April 1, 2015, file photo, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley speaks in Columbus, Ohio. As the Democratic Dayton Mayor joined the race for governor Monday, May 8, 2017, and with Republican Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor expected to join the contest, the battleground state could see a record number of female candidates on next year’s ballot for Ohio’s highest state office. (AP Photo/Andrew Welsh-Huggins, File)


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – One woman has been Ohio’s Governor — Nancy Hollister served for 11 days in 1998 when George Voinovich became a U.S. Senator.

But the 2018 race for Governor could see a record number of females running for Ohio’s highest office — and an expert says there are particular reasons why.

Even though the race is still a year-and-a-half away, three women have already joined. They’re all on the democratic side: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and former state Rep. Connie Pillich.

And at least one more female candidate is still expected, as current Republican Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor is supposed to officially join the contest later this year.

“There have been increases in the amount of women running for office,” Kent State Political Science Professor Ashley Nickels said.

Rutgers University’s Center For American Women and Politics says there have only been 38 female Governors in history.

But currently, five women serve as Governor in the U.S.

Nickels said it’s more than just females running for office. There’s also a larger group of women who are participating in all aspects of politics.

“The resurgence of the women’s marches,” she said. “And more and more women getting involved in these training programs ”

The training programs prepare candidates to run for political positions.

Rutgers University’s Center For American Women and Politics says one in every four state legislators is a woman in 2017.

Last November, Hilary Clinton became the first women ever to be nominated by a major party for the United States presidency.

“She might not have won, but she kind of represented a possibility that maybe wasn’t there before,” Nickels said. “Or a possibility some people had not thought about before.”

Nickels added that if a women is elected next November for Ohio’s Governor, it would be very important for representational matters.

“We still don’t see parity in terms of the number of women available that serve as governors across the nation or the number of women in the senate,” she said.

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