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Jennifer L. Lawless is the Commonwealth Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia. Prior to joining the UVA faculty, she was a Professor of Government at American University and the Director of the Women & Politics Institute. Before that, she was an assistant and then associate professor at Brown. Jen’s research focuses on political ambition, campaigns and elections, and media and politics. She is the author or co-author of six books, including Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era (with Danny Hayes) and It Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don't Run for Office (with Richard L. Fox). Her research, which has been supported by the National Science Foundation, has appeared in numerous academic journals, and is regularly cited in the popular press. She is an associate editor of the American Journal of Politics Science, and holds an appointment as a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Jen graduated from Union College with a B.A. in political science, and Stanford University with an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science. In 2006, she sought the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Rhode Island’s second congressional district. Although she lost the race, she remains an obsessive political junkie.


“When somebody wonders whether being young is a disadvantage, if your response can highlight how it might be an advantage, you can totally change the direction of the conversation,” Lawless said. “In my case, and frankly for all of the young candidates running for this cycle, the idea that the typical person in Congress right now is not somebody that’s young, and is not somebody that’s full of fresh ideas, can work as an asset to their own campaign.”
— Moneyish, July 27, 2018
They perceive a female incumbent as more vulnerable than she might be,” she said. “There’s no empirical evidence that any of this is true, but perceptions drive candidate emergence.
— Washington Post, 6/7/2018
Millennial women have never lived under a system in which abortion was not legal,” she said. “So I think that their experiences … and the way that they’ve grown up and the kinds of reproductive choices they’ve made are shaped by the availability of a women’s right to choose.
— Moneyish, 7/10/2018
Yet despite the unprecedented number of female candidates, they still only represent about 23 percent of all candidates running nationwide, Lawless noted. “That’s not much different to the proportion in previous election cycles. Men are motivated to run for office too, and that’s why we’re seeing such a crowded primary.
— Huffington Post, 6/6/2018