As we approach Election Day 2015, the Reflective Democracy Campaign has a report out on who runs for elected offices in America. They looked at 50,000 candidates for various offices across the U.S., and the results are interesting (by definition, most of these are local and many are school board races).
They find that, nationwide, despite changing demographics, candidates on ballots do not reflect these changes – 96% of Republican candidates are white and 82% of Democrats. Overall, about 64% of Americans are white.
About two-thirds of candidates for these elections are white males, who make up only about 32% of the population.
The data also show that minority and women candidates win about as often as other candidates – they are under-represented because they are just are less likely to run in the first place. Elsewhere, I have seen data that women, in particular, are likely to say they don’t consider running for higher elected office because they don’t want to fund-raise.
And, this report also finds that 53% of ballot candidates are running unopposed – they are guaranteed to win, just by putting their hats in the ring.