EAST LANSING, Mich. — At a time when nearly every aspect of politics feelssuffused by issues involving gender, the leading Democratic contender for Michigan governor makes a point of rarely mentioning hers.
“I talk about jobs,” former state Senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer says. “I talk about education. I talk about making government work for people. That’s really the dinner-table issues that I hear from Michiganders in every part of our state.”
Whitmer might not bring it up, but she represents what probably will be one of the 2018 elections’ most significant trends: More women than ever are in the mix to potentially lead their states as governor — traditionally one of the hardest reaches for female candidates and a position now held by just half a dozen women.
This year, at least 79 women — 49 Democrats and 30 Republicans — are running for governor or seriously considering it as filing deadlines approach, according to a tally by the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.
Michigan’s Gretchen Whitmer is an early leader, but can she win her state back for the Democrats?