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  Only 32 of 120 California legislators are women.

June 10, 2016

A Victory for California Women

Progressive women advance to general election in 15 of 17 targeted districts

  (Palo Alto, Calif.) – close the gap CA (CTGCA), a statewide campaign to increase the number of progressive women in the California Legislature, announced today that in 15 of 17 targeted districts progressive women have advanced to the November run-off election.

In March of 2014, CTGCA identified winnable districts for progressives and set out to recruit accomplished women to run in them. Among those women who advanced, eight placed first and eight placed second in their respective races. Three-quarters of the women in CTGCA districts who are advancing to November are women of color. Eight are Latinas and four are Asian Pacific Islander. 

 “This week’s results are a big victory for recruiting talented women for public office,” said Mary Hughes, founder of close the gap CA. “So many of the women who are advancing might not have run without our invitation to explore all they could achieve in the Legislature.”

 Today, just 26 percent of California state legislators are women. Of the 31 current female members, 11 will either term out or retire later this year. In these 11 districts, women candidates have advanced in only four races. This guarantees that in at least seven districts women legislators will be replaced by men. 

 Executive Director Holly Teliska notes “We expect these impressive women leaders will win in November and go on to serve with distinction in the state Legislature. We look forward to working closely with them to recruit more accomplished women to run in the future.”

Since its founding three years ago, the campaign has vetted more than 400 women and conducted active explorations with 85 serious prospective candidates.

See our district-by-district results here.


Close the gap CA is a campaign to increase the number of progressive women serving in the California Legislature by recruiting viable, progressive women to run for open seats in targeted, winnable districts.  The campaign recruits women who are pro-choice, pro-public school funding and who support paths out of poverty.  By partnering with progressive organizations, close the gap CA aims to achieve gender parity in the Legislature in 2028.  Learn more at