Since the election of President Trump, organizations that recruit and train women to run for office have reported a surge in applications. But Los Angeles County just held one of the state’s first elections since the presidential race — and the results were not encouraging for women.

“What we’re seeing is a lot of national organizations and state organizations pushing for female candidates to run for office,” said political analyst Mike Madrid with GrassrootsLab. “That’s not happening, at least in this first test.”

GrassrootsLab crunched numbers from the March election and found that of the 260 candidates running for municipal offices in L.A. County, just 70 were women, about 27 percent.

Of the women running, less than a third either won their race or advanced to a runoff. That mirrors historic trends in California. At all levels of government, women’s representation in elected offices tends to top out below 30 percent.

Candidates for the L.A. races had to start the process of running in December. And Madrid isn’t sure this one election is a fair test of things to come.

“You can say that it was too soon to test,” he said. “Or you could make the equally compelling argument that the sooner the better because the shock, the outrage, the anger and the pain that we’re hearing about so much is more acute and all the more reason to run.”

There was one exception: Women of color performed relatively well. Of the 20 women who won or advanced in their races, nine were Latino and one was African-American.

Madrid says upcoming elections in April, June and November will provide a better trend line to evaluate whether more women are actually following through and running for office.

Anti-Trump Anger Didn’t Spur More Women to Run in L.A. Elections 15 March,2017Katie Orr
  • jeffJ1

    ….the presidential election JUST happened. It takes more than a couple of months to scrape together a campaign, even if it’s just for dogcatcher. You can’t fuel a campaign with your own personal outrage; you need money, substantial knowledge of specific issues, some kind of ground game, etc. What a strange article this is. Were people who are actually informed about this topic really expecting to see a surge of women running in races that are happening this soon after the last presidential race ended?


Katie Orr

Katie Orr is a Sacramento-based reporter for KQED's Politics and Government  Desk, covering the state Capitol and a variety of issues including women in politics, voting and elections and legislation. Prior to joining KQED in 2016, Katie was state government reporter for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. She's also worked for KPBS in San Diego, where she covered City Hall.

Katie received her masters degree in political science from San Diego State University and holds a Bachelors degree in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University.

In 2015 Katie won a national Clarion Award for a series of stories she did on women in California politics. She's been honored by the Society for Professional Journalists and, in 2013, was named by The Washington Post as one of the country's top state Capitol reporters.   She's also reported for the award-winning documentary series The View from Here and was part of the team that won  national PRNDI and  Gabriel Awards in 2015. She lives in Sacramento with her husband. Twitter: @1KatieOrr

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor