How many female Senators and Governors will there be in 2019?

In the wake of Trump’s ascendancy, women are running for office in yuge numbers (generally as Democrats).  Not only that, they’re also winning.  In House Democratic primaries, women are overperforming their male counterparts by 15% according to a Cook political analysis.  So how will they fair in November?  PredictIt offers us two markets to wager on the question.  First – How many U.S. Senators will be women on Jan. 31, 2019?  And second – How many governors of the 50 states will be women on Jan. 31, 2019? (And maybe we’ll get a third on how many members of the House will be women on the same date?).

These are interesting markets with a lot of moving parts – let’s break them down.

How many U.S. Senators will be women on Jan. 31, 2019?

Market brackets (pricing as of  July 29, 2018):


The market loves 25+!  Mainly because this one was launched  just after Franken was replaced by Smith and before Hyde-Smith replaced Cochran, taking the current number of women in the Senate to 23.  On top of that, Flake’s AZ seat will almost certainly go to a woman, as Democrats and Republicans are both poised to nominate women (unless Arpaio pulls off a miracle upset in the Republican primary).

But let’s break it down and see if the market’s pricing is justified.  Here’s the list of women very likely or almost certain to be in the Senate come 2019:

  • (13) Not up for reelection/special election: Murray, Collins, Murkowski, Shaheen, Gillibrand, Hirono, Fischer, Moore-Capito, Ernst, Cortez-Masto, Duckworth, Harris, Hassan
  • (6) Very likely to win reelection/special election: Feinstein, Cantwell, Klobuchar, Smith, Hyde-Smith, Warren
  • (1) More likely than not to win reelection/election: Stabenow (though she does have a reasonably strong likely challenger in John James).
  • (2) Very likely to go to a female candidate of either party: AZ (Sinema or McSally), WI (Baldwin or Vukmir, though Vukmir may fall in the primary).

This puts us at 22 guaranteed/safe/pretty safe female seats in the Senate.  Meaning this market boils down to how many more you think will come to pass of the remaining possibilities:

(Again, all odds as of July 29, 2018).

Of these, I agree with the markets that Rosen stands the highest chance, bringing our probable total to 23.  Can we find two more among Blackburn, Heitkamp, and McCaskill?  I’m sure we can, but it’s also not a lock.  So this market is far from dead – pay attention to polling in TN, ND, MO, and NV and adjust accordingly.  If the Blue Wave sputters, start checking in on WI and MI.  If the Blue Wave is surging, remember that means Heitkamp and McCaskill still both have to hold to get to 25.

One last thing: McCain’s seat, should it become available after the election but before Jan. 31, 2019, could easily go to McSally if she loses (this also depends a bit on what happens in Ducey’s race, as far as timing goes).

How many governors of the 50 states will be women on Jan. 31, 2019?

Market brackets (pricing as of  July 29, 2018):


Now this one is way up in the air.  Let’s dig in.

Current female governors up for re-election or who will still be in office:

  • Kate Brown (OR) – Conventional wisdom is that she wins re-election easily, but we do have a recent Gravis poll showing a dead heat so?
  • Kay Ivey (AL) – Likely to win re-election.
  • Gina Raimondo (RI) – She’s dealing with a bit a challenge from the left but if she makes it past Matt Brown I suspect she wins in November.
  • Kim Reynolds (IA) – Taking over for Branstad (one of the funniest markets of all time, the Branstad market), she’s up for re-election vs Fred Hubbell.  Sabato has this one a toss-up, as does the market.

Other gubernatorial races involving a woman:

  • Gwen Graham (FL).  Should she win the primary (by no means certain), she will face a male opponent on the republican side in what should be one of the marquee match-ups of 2018.  The market gives the early edge to the Democratic candidate in this one, but that might change once the primaries are over and we get into general election polling.
  • Stacey Abrams (GA).  This is the one that The Narrative political writers are hyping up.  Trumpy white guy Kemp vs one-of-us black woman Abrams.  But it’s the deep south.  But muh changing demographics.  An interesting one where the market gives the Republican the edge for now.  (But let’s see what further polling reveals).
  • Colleen Hanabusa (HI).  If she defeats Ige in the primary on August 11 (which is certainly possible), she wins.
  • Paulette Jordan (ID).  Kind of a long-shot here (we don’t even have a market yet).
  • Laura Kelly (KS).  If she faces Kobach as the market suggests, I would kinda want to put a bet-with-your-heart wager on her (give market pls).  I also wouldn’t be shocked if Kansas voters wanted a change after the Brownback era.  Let’s see how it shakes out though.
  • Janet Mills (ME). The market and the raters agree that this one tilts towards her (and after LePage’s tenure I’m not surprised that Maine might want to move away from a Republican).
  • Gretchen Whitmer (MI). She has the edge here and likely takes it, but it’s far from put away (and we technically haven’t had primaries yet).
  • Lori Swanson (MN). She’s involved in a tight-ish primary battle with Tim Walz here, but should have a pretty reasonable shot at defeating Pawlenty in the general should she make it there.  (Erin Murphy also has a shot here, but she appears to be in third in the primary from what I can see so far).
  • Molly Kelly (NH).  Not a lot of recent polling that I see, but if she makes it to the general I reckon she’ll have a reasonable, but maybe not winning shot against Sununu.
  • Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM).  Polling, raters, and the market agree that she will take this one.
  • Cynthia Nixon (NY). Probably not, but you never know I suppose.
  • Kristi Noem (SD).  She’s a Republican and she’s gonna win it.
  • Diane Black (TN).  Assuming she makes it out of the primary, she will be the slight favorite in November.
  • Lupe Valdex (TX). Probably not gonna happen.
  • Brenda Siegel (VT).  If she wins the primary she still likely loses to Scott in the general.
  • Various (WI).  None likely to beat Evers for the Democratic nod.
  • Mary Throne (WY).  Another “if you win the primary you get to lose in the general” situation.

Okay that’s a lot!  Where does that leave us?

  • (2) Very likely: Ivey, Noem
  • (5) Likely, but not guaranteed: Brown, Raimondo, Mills, Black, Lujan Grisham
  • (5) Reasonable shot: Graham, Abrams, Hanabusa, Whitmer, Reynolds
  • (3) Stretches: Kelly, Swanson, Kelly

And that’s why the market both favors the high end of its range and why it’s uncertain.  Many balls remain in the air, though they’ll start coming down shortly as we head into the thick of primary season.

Hope this helps you get your bearings in these “take it all in at once” markets and I hope to see you trading in them come election night!

8/2/2018 UPDATE:

Black is out!  Noem is tied with a challenger in one poll!  Another poll shows Brown tied in Oregon!  If I had to re-organize, I’d say this is where we stand:

  • (1) Very likely: Ivey
  • (3) Likely, but not guaranteed: Raimondo, Mills, Lujan Grisham
  • (2) More likely than not, but watch out: Brown, Noem
  • (5) Reasonable shot: Graham, Abrams, Hanabusa, Whitmer, Reynolds
  • (3) Stretches: Kelly, Swanson, Kelly


8/15/2018 UPDATE:

Hanabusa and Swanson are out!  Kobach won in Kansas, which means Kelly has a somewhat stronger shot (though she has to deal with independent Greg Orman potentially siphoning some of her support).  Polling indicates both Mills and Raimondo have close races ahead in the general, so they’re being downgraded.  And a new poll shows Paulette Jordan within striking distance in Idaho, so we’ll add her to the mix.  Finally, Hallquist probably has a tough road vs Scott, but we’ll see what polling says:

  • (1) Very likely: Ivey
  • (1) Likely, but not guaranteed: Lujan Grisham
  • (5) More likely than not, but watch out: Brown, Noem, Raimondo, Mills, Whitmer
  • (4) Reasonable shot: Graham, Abrams, Reynolds, Kelly (KS)
  • (3) Stretches: Kelly (NH), Jordan, Hallquist



Disclaimer: I probably have positions or intend to take positions in just about all the markets I discuss herein.  You should always do your own research prior to making any investment decision. You should consider my advice and knowledge I share to be fundamentally biased in its presentation and selection by my own financial incentives.  While I do not knowingly lie I certainly do knowingly omit information that I think gives me an edge.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s