12 badass candidates you can vote for this Election Day

It's a record breaking year for female candidates. Here are 12 women running for office—many for the first time
By Avital Norman Nathman  Published on 11/05/2018 at 11:02 AM EDT
Yass! This sign at the 2018 New York Women's March. Mirah Curzer/Unsplash

Tomorrow is Election Day, and for many women, it could be a game changer. Last year more women than ever ran for office, and 2018 is no different. From local elections to state seats and national representation, women are breaking records and accomplishing “firsts” across the country. While we’ve already highlighted some amazing candidates like Stacey Abrams and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, there are so many women running that we wanted to talk about!  Read on as we highlight and pay homage to these badass candidates.

Sharice Davids, Kansas

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives, District 3 (D)

If elected, Sharice Davids would be the first lesbian Native American elected to Congress, ever! She is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation, and has lived and worked on reservations to develop community programs. Sharice has a law degree from Cornell and served as a White House Fellow under President Obama. She is also a literal ass-kicker, training as a martial artist and competing in MMA events! Her goals once in office will be working on a tax cut for middle class families, health care benefits for small businesses, child care tax credits, and so much more. Sharice is running as the daughter of a single mother Army veteran, a woman, a Native American, a lawyer, an economic advisor, and advocate. She will use all of this experience to build consensus and get things done. While she has been endorsed by The Kansas City Star is currently in the lead according to polls, it is still a tight race.

Learn more about Sharice Davids on her website.

Anna Eskamani, Florida

Running For: Florida House of Representatives, District 47 (D)

A daughter of immigrants and an Orlando native, Anna Eskamani would be the first Iranian-American in Florida’s state legislature. Anna has been the Senior Director for Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, and is a powerhouse when it comes to community outreach. The issues she will focus on first when in office include health care as a human right, women’s rights, environmental protection, and improving Florida’s housing and transit. Anna is a leading voice against President Trump’s travel ban, as well as Trump’s efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Learn more about Anna Eskamani on her website.

MJ Hegar, Texas

Running for: U.S. House of Representatives, District 31 (D)

While the press keeps pushing the narrative of “mom and Air Force pilot,” MJ Jegar represents much more. She points to her military background to illustrate how she’s experienced enough to reach across the aisle, working together with the opposite side, for the betterment of her district and the people of Texas. A life-long Texan, MJ plans to take on corruption, will fight to make healthcare more affordable, support military families, and protect Medicare and Social Security. MJ currently is only polling around 35%, so if you have friends and family in her district, encourage them to get out and vote!

Learn more about MJ Hegar on her website.

Selena Torres, Nevada

Running For: Nevada Assembly Seat, District 3 (D)

Selena Torres was born and raised in Las Vegas, the daughter of a refugee from the Salvadoran Civil War. A young teacher with a passion for education reform and a background working on immigration reform, Selena started César Chávez Day, which raises scholarship money for local students struggling to afford college.

Learn more about Selena Torres on Run For Something.

Mikie Sherrill, New Jersey

Running For: U.S. House of Representatives, District 11 (D)

This former Navy helicopter pilot, federal prosecutor, and mother of four is running for a seat that was held by a Republican for decades. “When I saw the administration’s attacks on everything I swore to defend in the U.S. Navy and at the U.S. Attorney’s Office—women, minorities, Gold Star families, POWs, judges, even the Constitution itself—I knew I needed to stand up once again and serve my country,” Sherrill tells Grok Nation. “We need a Congress that is going to focus on getting every American access to quality and affordable healthcare, passing a tax plan that works for the middle-class, and putting forward an infrastructure plan that moves our country forward.”

She was endorsed by The New York Times. Currently, Mikie is polling ahead of her opponent, though it’s a close race.

Learn more about Mikie Sherrill on her website.

Deb Haaland, New Mexico

Running For: U.S. House of Representatives, District 1 (D)

Like Sharice Davids in Kansas, if elected, Deb Haaland would also be one of the first Native American women in Congress. She is the former chair of the New Mexico Democratic Party and a member of the Pueblo of Laguna. Deb made it through law school as a single mom, and is now a champion for New Mexico schools. Clean energy is another priority for Deb, as  it will not only bring sustainable power, but jobs to New Mexico. Deb is currently ahead in the polls, so let’s make sure she clinches it!

Learn more about Deb Haaland on her website.

Padma Kuppa, Michigan

Running For: Michigan State House Representative, District 41 (D)

An engineer and an immigrant, Padma Kuppa is ready and proud to serve her home state. Padma has always been involved in bettering her community, as a PTA leader, a Troy Historic Society board member, and a member of Troy’s Planning Commission. If elected, Padma’s goals include championing public education, fighting for green space and clean lakes, improving her district’s infrastructure, and working on the affordability of healthcare. Padma is also badass enough that she has the backing of a number of Michigan politicians and also former President Barack Obama! According to Padman, she’s running for more than a seat in the Michigan House of Representatives, she’s running to serve the community she fell in love with 20 years ago.

Learn more about Padma Kuppa on her website.

Poppy Sias-Hernandez, Michigan

Running For: Michigan State Senate, District 34 (D)

With the opioid crisis impacting every state across the country, this badass has the background and experience to make a difference at the legislative level. Poppy is certified as a substance abuse prevention specialist, and has worked with young people and families for more than 15 years. As a state senator she will continue to advocate for policy to keep all Michigan students safe and supported both in and out of our schools. Her platform includes making sure young people get the opportunities they should to succeed, improving public health, access to sustainable agriculture, and criminal justice reform.

.Learn more about Poppy Sias-Hernandez on her website.

Sydney Batch, North Carolina

Even breast cancer won’t stop this powerhouse. Two months ago, Sydney Batch was diagnosed with early stages of breast cancer, but her campaign has continued on undeterred. Her situation only intensified her need to run. “There are many women who are not as fortunate as myself,” she explained. “I will be able to take time off work and the campaign trail to recover. But many women would not be able to do so, because they have to work and don’t have medical leave or vacation time. Worse still, others won’t receive treatment at all because they don’t have access to health insurance. And that is the reason I will continue our campaign.”

In addition to healthcare, Sydney is focused on public education, protecting the environment, affordable housing and higher wages.

Learn more about Sydney Batch on her website.

Michelle Beckley, Texas

Running For: Texas House of Representatives, District 65 (D)

This district, in the northwest suburb of Dallas, has a good chance of going blue, and it may just help that Michelle Beckley is sporting her Democrat pride so boldly (on her hair!!). She’s a local business owner who has been in the district since she was 6 months old. Michelle is keen on getting funding to help her district’s struggling schools, common sense gun control, making a local landfill as environmentally conscious as possible, cannabis legalization, and expanding Medicaid to make sure more rural hospitals aren’t forced to close. Frankly, she just wants to bring back common sense values to the state of Texas.

Learn more about Michelle Beckley on her website.

Lori Hawkins, Wisconsin

Running For: Wisconsin State Senate, District 21 (D)

Lori Hawkins is a small business owner and former teacher running to help flip the Wisconsin State Senate. The state is only three seats away from a Democratic majority, so every vote counts, especially in Lori’s district, as it was literally drawn for her opponent. Gerrymandering caused this district to lead red, but Lori knows change is possible. She wants to help improve Wisconsin’s public schools, make healthcare more affordable, and will fight for middle and lower-class families so they have a chance to succeed.

Learn more about Lori Hawkins on her website.

Jessica Ramos, New York

Running For: New York State Senate, District 13 (D)

The children of immigrants and a lifelong residents of Queens, Jessica Ramos is a community organizer, activist, and labor organizer who’s served as NYC’s Director of Latino Media. She’s focused on many NYC-based issues, including affordable housing, stronger rent laws, support for small businesses, and a functional New York City subway. According to Jessica, it is her ties to the city that will allow her to excel in the role: “I’m a mother.  I’m a renter. I’m a straphanger. I’m the daughter of immigrants. I’m a working woman. I’m Queens. I’m a real Democrat, and I will vote with my party.”

Learn more about Jessica Ramos on her website.

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