Indian Country Follows National Trend of More Female Candidates
2018 appears to be setting a record for the number of Native American women running for Congress. One is seeking a U.S. Senate seat, and three are running for the U.S. House. The latest is Oklahoman and Cherokee Nation citizen Amanda Douglas.
Across the country more women than ever are running for office, including Congress, statewide posts, and legislatures. That’s the case in Indian Country, too. So is it a record year? It sure looks to be so.
Amanda Douglas is the latest candidate. “Northeastern Oklahoma is so skewed that not a single non-Republican candidate has officially registered to run for the 1st District in the coming 2018 election,” she wrote on her campaign web site. “Most agree that this is because it is historically a heavily Republican district– it hasn’t seen non-Republican representation since 1987. The thought is that there isn’t enough support for anyone other than a Republican to even bother running.”
Douglas is bothering to run. (This gets to my favorite rule in politics: You gotta run to win.) Two years ago no Democrat bothered to run and the incumbent, Rep. Jim Bridenstine picked up 100 percent of the vote. Not bad, right? He is not running for re-election because he is President Donald J. Trump’s choice to head the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). That means the district will be an open seat.
Douglas and her family are citizens of the Cherokee Nation from Glenpool, Oklahoma, and she’s a graduate of Oklahoma State University.
“Yes, I know,” she writes. “I am not exactly drowning in political experience; however, I want you all to know that I consider that an advantage over other candidates at this point. We need fresh air in Washington. We need representation in Congress that is NOT part of the club– someone who is there for the good of the PEOPLE, not for financial gains or exploitable opportunities.”
There are now three Native American women running for the U.S. House. Deb Haaland in New Mexico, Sharice Davids in Kansas, and Douglas in Oklahoma. All are Democrats. In Arizona, Eve Reyes Aguirre is a candidate for the U.S. Senate running on the Green Party line. There are two Native American women running for state governors, Paulette Jordan in Idaho, and Andria Tupola Hawaii. And Peggy Flanagan is running for Lt. Gov. in Minnesota. There are also six Native American men running for Congress.
Mark Trahant is the editor of Indian Country Today. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. @TrahantReports on Twitter.