6 Democratic Women to Watch

6 Democratic Women to Watch

The 2014 primary elections begin today and will continue in various states through the summer. While midterm elections can be easy to overlook, there are quite a few notable Democratic women running for office and the primaries will determine who makes it on the November ballot.

Read on to find out who I'm keeping an eye on. There are a few familiar faces and some who you might not have heard of before.

Democratic donkey, Image Credit: Shutterstock

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JILL MILLER ZIMON, Ohio State House of Representatives, 12th District

[UPDATE 5/7/14: Poll results show that Jill Miller Zimon took 46% of the vote, losing to incumbent Assemblyman John Barnes. Our congratulations to Jill for a race well run.—Grace]

We’ve been following BlogHer Contributing Editor Jill Miller Zimon’s political career since she ran for city council in the Cleveland suburb of Pepper Pike, Ohio. After serving as a Pepper Pike Councilmember for four years, she is now setting her sights on statewide office, challenging incumbent Democrat Rep. John Barnes for the District 12 seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Healthcare, including women’s access to reproductive care, is high on Zimon’s priority list, which also includes senior citizen’s issues, education, jobs, and voter’s rights. EMILY’S List, the Ohio Democratic Party, Sen. Sherrod Brown, and many other groups have endorsed Zimon.

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PRAMILA JAYAPAL, Washington State Senate, 37th District

Image Credit: electpramila.com

Pramila Jayapal is a 20-year veteran organizer for immigrants, workers and women. After 9/11, she became one of the leading advocates against the profiling and discrimination of South Asians and is also the co-director of We Belong Together, an organization which advocates for immigration reform, particularly as it relates to women and families.

Jayapal is seeking the Seattle-area Washington State Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Adam Kline, and her supporters include Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and many Seattle business and community leaders.

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SANDRA FLUKE, California State Senate District, 26th District

Sept. 28, 2012 - Bellingham, WA, USA - Lynn Rosen, left, and Ruth Higgins, right, listen to Georgetown law school graduate Sandra Fluke at the Mount Baker Planned Parenthood fundraiser lunch (Image: © Philip A. Dwyer/MCT/ZUMAPRESS.com)

Sandra Fluke became a household name in 2012, when Rush Limbaugh called her a "slut." Then a Georgetown Law student, Fluke spoke about the importance of birth control coverage during congressional hearings about healthcare reform. Fluke is now running in a crowded race, against six other Democrats, to represent the newly formed District 26, which includes West Los Angeles, in California’s State Senate.

In addition to her advocacy for women’s reproductive rights, Fluke is also a supporter of social justice in jobs, education and immigration.

California NOW, NARAL California, and Gloria Steinem have all endorsed Fluke.

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LUCY FLORES, Nevada Lt. Governor

Image Credit: lucyflores.com

Current Nevada State Assemblywoman Lucy Flores personifies many of the changing demographics of the Silver State, where she is running for Lieutenant Governor. The youthful Latina attorney often tells her story of rising out of gangs after a parole office persuaded her to complete a high school equivalency degree.

If she wins the lieutenant governorship, Flores stands a chance of being in line for the governor’s mansion in 2016 if incumbent Gov. Brian Sandoval runs and wins a seat in the U.S. Senate.

Flores’ supporters include Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick.

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MARJORIE MARGOLIES and VALERIE ARKOOSH, Pennsylvania, 13th Congressional District

L- Marjorie Margolies, R- Valerie Arkoosh

One of the most interesting races involving female candidates is in the Philadephia area—where not one, but two Democratic women are vying to represent Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District in the House of Representatives.

Bidding to go back to Washington D.C. is Marjorie Margolies, who represented the 13th District in Congress from 1993 to 1995 and is also a veteran broadcaster, professor, and women’s rights activist. In addition to her many professional achievements, Margolies is also the mother-in-law to Chelsea Clinton.

Not surprisingly, former President Bill Clinton recently campaigned for Margolies, and Madeleine Albright appeared at a fundraiser last October.

Also running, Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, is a practicing obstetric anesthesiologist and outspoken advocate during congressional hearings for the Affordable Care Act. In addition to healthcare and reproductive freedom, Arkoosh lists jobs, education, and reducing gun violence among her priorities. If elected, Arkoosh would be the first female doctor to serve in Congress.

Arkoosh has the support of the Women’s Campaign Fund and many physicians' PACs.

Read Erica Holloway's picks for GOP women you should know about.

Which Democratic women you are following during the primary season? Tell us, in the comments.

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs about raising an Asian mixed-race family at HapaMama.

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