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.