The outcome of Tennessee’s congressional primaries on Thursday added another all-woman U.S. House of Representatives contest to an already record number that will be taking place this year.
Republican Diana Harshbarger and Democrat Blair Walsingham won their primary races to become their party’s nominees for the race to fill the state’s only open House seat in the 1st District. It is a solid Republican district, making it a likely pickup for women in the Republican Party.
There are currently no women in Tennessee’s nine-seat House delegation, which includes seven Republicans and two Democrats. One of its two U.S. senators is Republican Marsha Blackburn, the first woman to represent the state in the Senate, who is not up for re-election this year.
In the contest for the state’s other Senate seat, which is an open race since Republican Lamar Alexander announced in 2018 he would be retiring, Democrat Marquita Bradshaw will be taking on Republican Bill Hagerty in November. If elected, Bradshaw, who is Black, would be the first woman of color elected to statewide office, but Hagerty is the strong favorite to win the race.
There will be six women on House ballots in the state. In addition to Harshbarger and Walsingham, the four women who won Tennessee’s House primaries — three Democrats and one Republican — will be competing in contests that strongly favor their opponents, including several rematches that they lost by at least 30 points in 2018, according to the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.
In November, there will be at least 39 House races where Republican women will be competing against Democratic women, setting a new record, according to CAWP data. That number could grow as states finish primaries delayed by coronavirus.