More women candidates than ever will contest US governorships and House seats in November’s mid-term elections.

After Tuesday’s primaries across four states, there are now 11 female nominees for governor and at least 182 for the House of Representatives.

The results were hailed as a continuing success story by activists for women in politics.

There was also a key election for a House seat in Ohio, in which President Donald Trump claimed victory.

But US media said the race was still too close to call, in a safe Republican seat held by them since 1983. The outcome could indicate whether Democrats have a chance to overturn the Republican majority in the House in November.

A breakthrough for women

After polling closed in the four states holding primaries on Tuesday – Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington – it became clear women had broken records for gubernatorial and House nominations.

Victories for Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan) and Laura Kelly (Kansas) in Democratic primaries mean 11 women will contest governorships in November – one more than the previous 1994 record.

At least 182 female major party nominees will run for the House, beating the record of 167 from 2016. Another three women are leading in close primary contests.

Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) said: “This has been an election season of records for women candidates, and tonight continues that story.”

Ms Whitmer will in fact lead a four-strong, all-women ticket for the Democrats at state level in Michigan.

And one of the candidates for the House in the state is certain to become the first Muslim woman in Congress. Rashida Tlaib won a Democratic nomination and will not be opposed by the Republicans in November. She will also be the first Palestinian-American congresswoman.

There will be two all-female races in Washington state. Democrat Lisa Brown faces Cathy McMorris Rodgers for a House seat, while Republican Susan Hutchison will take on incumbent Senator Maria Cantwell.

Democratic women could outnumber their white male colleagues in the House after November, a recent study suggested.

What has happened in Ohio?

Republican candidate Troy Balderson has been taking on Democrat Danny O’Connor for a seat in the House of Representatives. Ohio is one of the key battleground states in the mid-terms.

Mr Trump tweeted “Congratulations to Troy Balderson on a great win in Ohio. A very special and important race!”

Despite this, US news outlets have not called the contest yet. The New York Times gave Mr Balderson 50.2%, a lead of 1,754 votes in the 12th Congressional District race, with all precincts reporting. But thousands of absentee and provisional ballots are still outstanding, which could lead Mr O’Connor to force a recount. He said: “We’re not stopping now.”

A provisional ballot is used to record a vote when there are questions about a voter’s eligibility. Absentee ballots are cast by those unable to attend polling stations.

Democrat House representative Ben Ray Luján said the seat should have been a “slam dunk” for the Republicans and the closeness of the contest was an “ominous sign” for them in November.

Mr Trump won the 12th Congressional District in 2016 by more than 11 percentage points.

Mr Balderson and Mr O’Connor will have to fight the seat again in November.

(BBC)

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