CalMatters: Will women rule in the 2022 California election?

A gift or a curse? For Angelique Ashby, running as a “women’s advocate” in a heated state Senate race in Sacramento might be a little of both.

Her competitor, Dave Jones, a fellow Democrat, went to court to block Ashby from using that as her ballot designation under her name. His lawyers argued that it wasn’t her vocation, though it could be a profession or occupation, but that Ashby didn’t qualify. 

Jones, a former Assemblymember, won his argument. But Ashby also benefited: The lawsuit fired up some of her supporters and prompted a firestorm on social media. Part of the politics: Sacramento County hasn’t sent a woman to the Legislature since 2014, and a district anchored in the county not since 2002.

For Ashby, it’s also personal: Her story of putting herself through college and law school while a single mom has been her calling card since first running for Sacramento City Council in 2010.      

“If you needed a reminder, you got one today. Women are still marginalized and easily dismissed,” she said in a statement on the ballot designation decision. “But I refuse to accept that as our fate. Let this be a rallying cry. Elect more women.”

The Nov. 8 election presents a big opportunity for women. With a number of seats up for grabs due to redistricting and a wave of retirements, the number of female legislators could rise above the current record of 39 of 120 seats. 

The overturning of Roe vs. Wade has also generated more energy among female voters and highlighted the importance of having women in policy-making roles — even in California, where abortion rights are protected. 


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