They put their passion on the line, knocking on doors, dialing for dollars, giving speeches wherever they could find a podium, and working to turn out the voters to give them victory on election day.
They did this for months, then they learned that it had not been enough. Despite the soaring number of women who won races in the 2018 election, they were not among them. They were among the even greater number of women who lost.
While the winners make headlines and prepare to take office, the losers face a different reality.
“We find this narrative around women winning can be really isolating for the women who lost. There’s no guide for the day after the election if you lose,” says Erin Loos Cutraro of She Should Run, an organization she co-founded in 2011 to encourage more women to run for office.
In this election cycle, 2,015 women won their races and 2,178 women lost, according to the Center for American Women and Politics, which tallied federal, statewide, and state legislative races. CAWP says that means 51.2 percent of the women who ran in 2018 lost their election.
Those defeated included many excellent candidates that now constitute a valuable pool of experienced campaigners.
Dr. Hiral Tipirneni, a Democrat endorsed by Emily’s List and trained by Emerge Arizona, was defeated in her bid for Congress on Nov. 6 but says the blow was lessened by the realization that she had failed by about 10 points in a district President Trump carried by 21.
“We know we have moved the needle. We have made this district competitive for the first time in decades,” says Tipirneni, 51, who had set aside her cancer research to run for office after the 2016 election.
She rules out running for the same seat again and is exploring the best way for her to stay engaged politically. “In order to heal and come up from this place of sadness and loss, the thing that gives you forward movement is a plan,” she says. “I’m thinking about where I could contribute my voice and having an…