Illinois Democratic gubernatorial candidates, from left to right: Tio Hardiman, Bob Daiber, Ameya Pawar, Alex Paterakis, J.B. Pritzker, Daniel Biss, Scott Drury, Kurt Summers and Chris Kennedy.
A simple question — weighed down by a clunky domain name — is drawing attention to the serious lack of estrogen in Illinois’ gubernatorial race.
AreThereAnyWomenRunningForILGovernor.com attempts to nudge some women into the race for Gov. Bruce Rauner’s seat and calls on Democratic leadership to diversify its 2018 offerings.
The site, once you take the clickbait, delivers you to a giant red NO. The answer’s fairly self-evident, but it sits atop a handful of statements that link to organizations encouraging women to seek higher office.
“Women, you should run” links to She Should Run, a 6-year-old nonprofit that provides community and resources for women of all political leanings interested in seeking elected office. (They’re also the folks behind “See Joan Run,” a clever little picture book for grown-ups that points out, “There are a lot of Dicks in office.”)
“Seriously, you should run” links to Run For Something, a political action committee founded by a former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer shortly after Donald Trump was elected president. That group focuses on getting progressive millennials to run for office.
“What are you waiting for?” links to Emily’s List, the 32-year-old stalwart that supports campaigns for pro-choice Democratic women. (EMILY is an acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast,” meaning it makes the dough rise.)
And one final link takes you to an open letter to Illinois Democratic Party leadership.
“We are disturbed that of all the Democratic candidates running for Illinois governor, zero are women,” it reads. “Zero. Of these eight straight, cisgender men, six are white. This is a problem.”
(Chris Kennedy, Ald. Ameya Pawar, state Sen. Daniel Biss, J.B. Pritzker, Bob Daiber, Alex Paterakis, Tio Hardiman and state Rep. Scott Drury are the aforementioned eight.)
Only 39 women have served as governors in the history of the United States, and only six states currently have female governors — Oklahoma, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Alabama and Iowa.
Illinois has a long and storied history of exclusively white male governors, four of whom went to prison. (Lock him up!)
I don’t know. Maybe it’s time to mix things up a little.
If you know a woman who’s looking to steer a scrappy, distinctive, not-quite-financially-solvent Midwestern state back toward greatness, you know where to send her.
There’s still plenty of time to change that giant red NO into an infinitely more pleasing YES, and maybe, just maybe, make history.