Archive for ‘Candidates in Judicial Elections’

April 7, 2011

Women Candidates in Judicial Elections

by Angela N. Johnson

In “Women Candidates and Judicial Elections: Telling an Untold Story,” Traciel Reid discusses the barriers women experience when campaigning in state court judicial elections.  “Currently, approximately one-half of all state judges reach their state court benches by winning partisan or nonpartisan races” (Reid 2010, 465).  This begs the question, “Do aspiring women judges experience similar barriers or challenges as women running for legislative or executive office?” Id. at 465.  Reid looks critically at past regression findings which suggested that women  face little or no discrimination and that gender has a minimal effect in the judicial election process. Reid argues that the regression model fails to reveal the realities confronting women judicial candidates because previous studies have noted gender as an independent variable wherein being a woman fails to correlate with the dependent variable, the finding appears that gender has little or no bearing.  Reid takes a different approach by running regression analysis on men and women candidates separately. Her results suggest that “different forces within the electoral environment affect the campaigns of men and women and, in particular, that women must overcome specific challenges” Id. at 467.  Moreover, men have advantages that women do not have, and women encounter difficulties that men do not face. One such example from Reid’s findings is that men’s “status as incumbents helps men in funding their campaigns, whereas women incumbents receive no similar benefit.  Incumbency correlates in a statistically significant way with men’s campaign contributions.  In contrast, it has no statistically significant effect on the contributions reported by women.  Also, campaign spending (beyond a certain level) has less impact on women’s vote shares than on men’s” Id. at 467.

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