Following the 2022 midterm elections, the United States will have more female governors in office across the country than ever before, with 12 women being elected on Tuesday
As reported by CNN, the previous record total was 9 female governors in the aftermath of the 2004 election. Eight incumbent female governors were re-elected in the states of Alabama, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota. Republicans were re-elected in Alabama, Iowa, and South Dakota, while Democrats won second terms in Kansas, Maine, Michigan, New Mexico, and New York.
In New York, incumbent Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.) was elected to her first full term after rising to the office due to the resignation of her predecessor, Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.) in 2021; Hochul narrowly won re-election in a surprisingly close campaign against her Republican challenger, Congressman Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).
In Arkansas, Sarah Huckabee Sanders overwhelmingly defeated Democratic challenger Chris Jones in the race to succeed outgoing Republican Asa Hutchinson. In doing so, she not only reclaimed the seat that her father Mike Huckabee once held, but she also became the first female governor in the state’s history; the victory of the former Trump White House Press Secretary also marks the first time in modern history that the state has elected two consecutive Republican governors.
In Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey (D-Mass.) defeated former State Representative Geoff Diehl (R-Mass.) in the race to succeed retiring incumbent Charlie Baker (R-Mass.), thus marking one of the Democrats’ two flips of Republican-held governors’ seats thus far. Healey is also the first female elected Governor of Massachusetts, as well as the first openly lesbian governor in American history.
In two other races where both of the major parties’ nominees are women, Arizona and Oregon, the results are still too close to call. Incumbent Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D-Ariz.) is narrowly leading Kari Lake (R-Ariz.) by half a percentage point with 76 percent reporting in, though Lake has been consistently closing the gap. In Oregon, Democrat Tina Kotek is leading Republican Christine Drazan by about three points with 99 percent reporting in, while independent Betsy Johnson trails at a distant third with 8.7 percent. As both of these races feature only female candidates, the final total of female governors in 2023 will be 12 no matter who wins.