Just 6 Women Have Represented NC in the US House. In 2020, That Number Could Soar

The 2020 election is breaking all kinds of records in North Carolina — for absentee by-mail votes, for in-person early turnout, for money raised and spent in a U.S. Senate race.

There’s another record that’s likely to be shattered after Nov. 3: The number of women representing the state in the U.S. House at the same time.

Four women are considered likely winners in North Carolina districts, based on election rankings. Incumbent Reps. Alma Adams and Virginia Foxx are favorites to win reelection, while Democrats Deborah Ross and Kathy Manning are favored to win in new districts that were drawn by state lawmakers last year.

The state’s record for women in the U.S. House at the same time is three in 2011 and in 2012. Only six women have ever represented the state in the U.S. House. They include Foxx, a Republican from Banner Elk who has served since 2005; and Adams, a Charlotte Democrat who took office in 2014.

North Carolina has 13 seats in its House delegation.

“We should at the very least approach parity. What we’re going to have is more representative government. That’s going to be a really, really good thing,” said Ross, a lawyer and former state representative from Wake County who lost a U.S. Senate bid in 2016. “Everybody’s views and everybody’s voices will be at the table.”

Currently, there are 101 women (13 Republicans and 88 Democrats) serving in the 435-member House. This fall, 300 Republican and Democratic women are still in the running to win a seat, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. The data does not include third-party candidates on the ballot in November.

In North Carolina, seven women are either the Republican or Democratic nominee for a congressional seat, including Republican Sandy Smith in the 1st Congressional District, Democrat Patricia Timmons-Goodson in the 8th Congressional District and Democrat Cynthia Wallace in the 9th Congressional District. All three are running against male incumbents.

“More women in Congress are necessary. It sends a great sign to have more gender parity in North Carolina’s congressional delegation, especially for young women in the state, to inspire them to run,” said Whitney Ross Manzo, a political science professor at Meredith College in Raleigh.

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