'Pink wave' of women candidates could shake up power dynamics on Capitol Hill

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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) -- Some are calling it a ‘pink wave’. Women running for office in record numbers - and in many cases, winning. Our Alana Austin breaks down what this could mean in Washington, DC.

It’s a historic moment for women in politics, as female candidates across the country fight for seats - up and down the ballot.

Georgetown University professor Michele Swers says many are inspired by the Me Too movement and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 bid to be the first woman president.

“Most of the women that are running are running as Democrats, and they’re doing very well," said Swers.

Swers says a wave of Democratic women would bring more diversity to Congress, and shake up more than just the incoming class.

“There are a lot of other women who were elected in that 1992 wave that now have a lot of seniority and Congress works on seniority, so those women are in line to chair important committees," said Swers.

Some lawmakers call this another year of the woman. Illinois Democratic Rep Cheri Bustos says women are natural collaborators and relationship builders and electing more women to Congress could breakup partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill.

“We have a record number of women running, and I think that’s a sign of seeing what has happened to the dysfunction in Washington," said Bustos.

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) says this movement means women are seeking office at all levels of government - and she sees that female voters are engaged, as well as women volunteering for civic organizations.

Sewell believes that energy will translate into results.

“We make up 50 percent of the population but only 20 percent of Congress," said Sewell. “It took 6 U.S. Senators being women Senators on the Armed Services committee before sexual harassment in the military was ever addressed.”

The highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress - Cathy McMorris Rodgers - says there’s excitement within the G-O-P sisterhood as well.
Rodgers says in the past, women took over their husbands’ seats, or waited to be asked to run.

“And today you see women on both the Republican and the Democrat ticket stepping up," said Rodgers.

Democratic women are faring better than their female Republican peers in the primary elections so far this year – it’s unclear whether that trend will hold for general elections this November.

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