Two States Guaranteed to Get First Female Governor

In a recent Capitol Facts & Figures on women in state government, I noted that 27 states had never had a female governor.  This is guaranteed to change, as both New Mexico and Oklahoma have two women facing off against each other in this year's gubernatorial election, something that has happened only two other times.

Following primary victories in Oklahoma on Tuesday, Republican U.S. Representative Mary Fallin will face Democratic Lieutenant Governor Jari Askins in November, ensuring that the state will see its first woman elected governor in November.

Similarly, New Mexico will also have its first female governor, with Republican Susana Martinez, the district attorney for Doña Ana County, running against Diane Nenish, the lieutenant governor. 

According to the Center for American Women in Politics (CAWP), the first woman-vs.-woman gubernatorial race occured in 1986 when Kay Orr (R) defeated Helen Boosalis (D) in Nebraska.  The only other such race took place in Hawaii in 2002, when Linda Lingle (R) defeated Mazie Hirono (D).

There are currently six women serving as governor, down from the record of nine women serving as chief executive simultaneously, which has happened on two different occasions.