This Special Election Is Proof Young Women Are Running For Office

Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Since the presidential election, thousands upon thousands of young women across the country have pledged to enter politics themselves.

But will they actually run? And soon? If one special congressional election in Southern California is any indication, the answer is yes.

At least eight women under the age of 40 have joined the crowded field of candidates vying to replace Xavier Becerra in Los Angeles' 34th Congressional District, according to bios published by The Los Angeles Times. In all, 12 out of the 23 candidates are female — more than half of the ballot.

The young female candidates bring a range of backgrounds and experiences to the campaign, as the Times reports. Alejandra Campoverdi, 37, served in the Obama White House. Angela E. McArdle is a 33-year-old paralegal working on foreclosure cases. Tracy Van Houten, 34, worked on the Mars rover as an aerospace engineer at Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Adrienne Nicole Edwards, a 28-year-old community organizer, is staging her third bid for the seat. Sara Hernandez, 33, worked for a local council member and in education. Vanessa Aramayo, 39, worked for state and federal politicians before becoming a public affairs consultant and stay-at-home mom. Melissa Garza is a 38-year-old filmmaker. And Wendy Carrillo, 36, is a progressive activist and journalist who has made her own experience as a formerly undocumented immigrant from El Salvador a central part of her campaign (Carrillo has written for Refinery29 in the past).

The special election to succeed Becerra, who was appointed as the state's attorney general following Kamala Harris' election to the U.S. Senate, is set for April 4. If no candidate wins more than 50% of the vote, the two with the most votes will compete in a June run-off.

The election of any of these women would give a small but crucial boost to gender balance in Washington. Currently, just 83 women serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, accounting for 19% of the body.

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