Just last year, at an event with many of his supporters, Nathan Deal worried publicly about the future of his party. His main concern: “We’re not doing very well with women.”
But if Tuesday’s primary is any indication, Gov. Deal’s party may have an even bigger problem with women than he ever realized.
Up and down the ballot for the May 20th primary, Deal’s party systematically rejected female candidates seeking their party’s nomination for various offices.
TOP TIER RACES
The male dominance of Nathan Deal’s conservative supermajority was most evident in the races at the very top.
The Republican Party nominated men for the U.S. Senate seat and for all eight constitutional offices, preventing even a single woman from earning the nomination for one of this year’s top races.
For comparison, Democrats nominated a female candidate for Senate and five women for constitutional offices.
|Secretary of State||Male||Female|
In the primaries for State Representative, voters in Nathan Deal’s party had 11 chances to choose a woman over a man but only chose to do so once. Eight times the party chose a man, with 2 races going to a runoff between a man and woman.
For comparison, given 6 such chances, Democratic voters nominated 4 women, 1 man, and sent one race to a runoff.
Further, even though Deal’s party nominated far more candidates to the House, they still nominated less than half the number of women as Democrats (17 vs. 36).
State House winners (Republican)
Contested primaries: 28 men, 1 woman, 2 unresolved runoffs*
Primaries featuring men and women: 8 men, 1 woman, 2 unresolved runoffs
Uncontested nominations: 81 men, 16 women
Grand total: 109 men, 17 women, 3 unresolved runoffs
State House winners (Democratic)
Contested primaries: 4 men, 8 women, 1 unresolved runoff
Primaries featuring men and women: 1 man, 4 women, 1 unresolved runoff
Uncontested nominations: 44 men, 28 women
Grand total: 48 men, 36 women, 1 unresolved runoff
*For all runoff contests in which both candidates were of the same gender, we count that race as a win for a person of that gender. A runoff between two men, for example, counts as a win for a man. A runoff between a man and woman is unresolved.
While Democratic women swept all five races in which women were up against men in State Senate primaries, Republicans rejected the only woman to mount a State Senate challenge against a man at the ballot box.
The news is worse for Deal’s party when taking into account uncontested State Senate primaries. Of the 31 uncontested Republican primaries, Deal’s party nominated only a single woman.
Including the other contested races brings the Republicans’ grand total of nominated State Senate candidates to a staggering 40 men and 1 woman.
State Senate winners (Republican)
Contested primaries: 9 men, 0 women
Primaries featuring men and women: 1 man, 0 women
Uncontested nominations: 31 men, 1 woman
Grand total: 40 men, 1 woman
State Senate winners (Democratic)
Contested primaries: 2 men, 7 women
Primaries featuring men and women: 0 men, 5 women
Uncontested nominations: 16 men, 4 women
Grand total: 18 men, 11 women
UNITED STATES CONGRESS
With three male Republican legislators leaving their Congressional seats to run for Senate, Nathan Deal’s party had a prime opportunity to nominate a woman to each of three open Congressional seats. They fell flat.
– For the 1st Congressional District, six men ran but no women.
– For the 10th Congressional District, Donna Sheldon was the sole woman in the 7-way Republican primary, but Republicans failed to advance her to the runoff.
– For the 11th Congressional District, Tricia Pridemore was again the sole woman in the 6-way race, but Republicans rejected her as well.
Open Congressional seats are an opportunity for a party to run fresh faces for higher office, but given three different chances in a single year to diversify Georgia’s all-male Congressional delegation, Deal’s party blocked the only two female candidates on Tuesday from even earning a spot in a runoff.
Nathan Deal has a troubled history with women’s issues both in terms of policy and political appointments, but a closer look at the May 20th primary reveals an even more shocking truth: Gov. Deal’s party has even blocked women from within their own ranks from reaching higher office.
If Nathan Deal’s party is so uncomfortable electing women to office, it could spell trouble for the governor as he struggles to build a diverse coalition of Georgians who want him to stick around for four more years.