Women in politics: Boosting leadership roles a goal for many in midterm voting

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — As voters cast their ballots in the midterm elections on Tuesday, experts say more women are running for statewide and local offices than ever before.

There are roughly 65 women running for governor across the country during this election cycle, which is the most ever. The current number of women in Congress is also at a historic high, with women holding 27.5% of seats. There are 123 women in the House of Representatives, making up 28.3 percent of the total delegation.

Many say female representation in Congress is needed more than ever, especially in states like South Carolina where men dominate political positions. Plus, women’s health issues are also at the forefront of many political discussions. 

Sage Short, a Clemson University graduate student who was born and raised in Myrtle Beach said she originally wanted to be a politician but always had a hard time finding women to look up to in Myrtle Beach because of the lack of women in leadership roles, especially Congress.

“It is always going to be harder for women, even Republican women to dominate a space that’s dominated by mostly white Republican men,” she said. “So having women in politics in South Carolina and in Myrtle Beach is always going to be a progressive step. We need that for all the women that live here.”

All of that could soon change.

Republican Carla Schussler and Democrat Ashlyn Preux are running for the South Carolina House District 61 seat. This district, which includes parts of Myrtle Beach and Conway, was created after the 2020 U.S. Census showed surging growth in Horry County. 

“Now, there will be eight seats at the state level, and there was only one female out of seven,” Schussler said. “I think there has not been two females representing the Pee Dee area. since the 70’s.”

In South Carolina, roughly only 18% of the state legislature is made up of women.

“After the past couple years, collectively, a lot of us have just said, like, this is enough, and that’s why we see the increase in women candidates,“ Preux said.

It is important for women to know they have what it takes to be in political positions, she said.  

“We need, we need more women,” Preux said. “We need more parents, more moms stepping up to run for office.”

Schussler said she is excited to see more women willing to get involved and to try to come together and work for the greater good of the area.

 “One of the best things about this seat is at the end of the day, no matter the turnout, it is going to be a seat held by a female, “Schussler said.

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