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A record number of women are running for governor across the U.S.

Since 1926, only 45 women have served as governors. And 19 states have never had a female governor.
Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Terry McAuliffe Joined By Stacey Abrams, Jaime Harrison, And Dave Matthews For Election Rally
Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. Getty Images file

The midterm elections are just five days away, and control of the House and Senate — as well as the prospects for the rest of President Biden's first term — hang in the balance. But there's another high-stakes, history-making outcome in play: whether we'll see a record number of women become governor.

Nine women currently serve as governors, and 25 women are major party nominees in gubernatorial races this year, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. That’s a record number for both Democrats and Republicans.

Current female governers

Since 1926, only 45 women have served as governors. And 19 states have never had a female governor. There are other history-making political firsts we might see next week. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek could become the nation’s first lesbian governors. And Stacey Abrams is campaigning to become the nation's first Black female governor in Georgia. There are also several states that could have a female governor and a female lieutenant governor serving as a team for the first time, including in Arkansas, Massachusetts, Ohio and Oklahoma.

ForbesWomen editor Maggie McGrath told Mika Brzezinski on Thursday’s “Morning Joe” that this year’s influx of women candidates could fuel more to throw their hats into the ring in the years to come.

“I hear all the time from entrepreneurs and corporate leaders about how if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. So, there are untold numbers of women who could be watching these races and if they see someone who sounds like them, looks like them, they could run.”

McGrath noted that over the course of U.S. history, 16 presidents had previously served as governor.

“This could fuel the presidential flywheel,” said McGrath.