Humanities › History & Culture All the Women Who Have Run for President of the US Share Flipboard Email Print Drew Angerer / Getty Images History & Culture Women's History History Of Feminism Important Figures Key Events Women's Suffrage Women & War Laws & Womens Rights Feminism & Pop Culture Feminist Texts American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Genealogy Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century View More By Jone Johnson Lewis Women's History Writer B.A., Mundelein College M.Div., Meadville/Lombard Theological School Jone Johnson Lewis is a women's history writer who has been involved with the women's movement since the late 1960s. She is a former faculty member of the Humanist Institute. our editorial process Jone Johnson Lewis Updated October 20, 2017 2020 saw many different women running for the highest office in the land. Dozens of women from political parties major and minor have sought the presidency through the years, some even before women had the right to vote in elections. Here's a list of all the female presidential candidates (through the 2020 election), arranged chronologically by their first campaign for the office. Victoria Woodhull Bettmann / Getty Images Equal Rights Party: 1872Humanitarian Party: 1892 Victoria Woodhull was the first woman to run for president in the United States. Woodhull was known for her radicalism as a woman suffrage activist and her role in a sex scandal involving a noted preacher of the time, Henry Ward Beecher. Belva Lockwood Library of Congress National Equal Rights Party: 1884National Equal Rights Party: 1888 Belva Lockwood, an activist for voting rights for women and for African Americans, was also one of the first female lawyers in the United States. Her campaign for president in 1884 was the first full-scale national campaign of a woman running for president. Laura Clay Library of Congress Democratic Party: 1920 Laura Clay is best known as a Southern women's rights advocate who opposed granting African American women the right to vote. Clay had her name placed in nomination at the 1920 Democratic National Convention, for which she was a delegate. Gracie Allen John Springer Collection / Getty Images Surprise Party: 1940 Gracie Allen, a comedian, was already well known to most Americans as George Burns' acting partner (not to mention his real-life wife). In 1940, Allen announced that she would seek the presidency on the Surprise Party ticket. The joke was on voters, though; the campaign was just a gag. Margaret Chase Smith Bettmann / Getty Images Republican Party: 1964 Margaret Chase Smith holds the distinction of being the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for president at a major political party's convention. She was also the first woman elected to serve in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, representing Maine from 1940 to 1973. Charlene Mitchell Johnny Nunez / WireImage / Getty Images Communist Party: 1968 Charlene Mitchell, a political and social activist, was active in the American Communist Party from the late 1950s until the 1980s. In 1968, she became the first African American woman nominated for president of the United States on the American Communist Party ticket. She was on the ballot in two states in the general election and received fewer than 1,100 votes nationally. Shirley Chisholm Don Hogan Charles / New York Times Co. / Getty Images Democratic Party: 1972 A civil rights and women's rights advocate, Shirley Chisholm was the first African American woman to be elected to Congress. She represented the 12th District in New York from 1968 to 1980. Chisholm became the first Black woman to seek the Democratic nomination in 1972 with the slogan "Unbought and Unbossed." Her name was placed in nomination at the 1972 convention, and she won 152 delegates. Patsy Takemoto Mink Bettmann / Getty Images Democratic Party: 1972 Patsy Takemoto Mink was the first Asian American to seek nomination for president by a major political party. An antiwar candidate, she ran on the Oregon primary ballot in 1972. Mink served 12 terms in Congress, representing Hawaii's 1st and 2nd Districts. Bella Abzug Bella Abzug in 1971. Tim Boxer / Getty Images Democratic Party: 1972 One of multiple women seeking the Democratic Party nomination for president in 1972, Abzug was at the time a member of Congress from the West Side of Manhattan. Linda Osteen Jenness Phil Slattery / Denver Post / Getty Images Socialist Workers Party: 1972 Linda Jenness ran against Richard Nixon in 1972 and was on the ballot in most states. But she was only 31 at the time, four years too young to serve as president, according to the U.S. Constitution. In states where Jenness was not accepted for the ballot because of her age, Evelyn Reed was in the presidential slot. Evelyn Reed Marxists.org Socialist Workers Party: 1972 In states where SWP candidate Linda Jenness was not accepted for the ballot because she was under the Constitutional age for qualifying for the presidency, Evelyn Reed ran in her place. Reed was a longtime American Communist Party activist in the U.S. and active in the women's movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Ellen McCormack Democratic Party: 1976Right to Life Party: 1980 In the 1976 campaign, anti-abortion activist Ellen McCormack won 238,000 votes in 18 primaries in the Democratic campaign, winning 22 delegates in five states. She was eligible for matching funds, based on new electoral campaign rules. Her campaign resulted in changing the laws on federal matching funds to make it more difficult for candidates with little support. She ran again in 1980 on a third-party ticket, receiving no federal matching funds, and was on the ballot in three states, two as an independent candidate. Margaret Wright People's Party: 1976 African American activist Margaret Wright ran with Dr. Benjamin Spock in the vice presidential spot; he'd been the presidential candidate in 1972 of this short-lived political party. Deirdre Griswold Workers World Party: 1980 Deirdre Griswold founded this Stalinist political group, splitting from the Socialist Workers Party. In the 1980 presidential election, she received 13,300 votes in 18 states. She is a longtime activist in far-left and anticapitalist politics. Maureen Smith Peace and Freedom Party: 1980 Smith has been active in leftist women's politics since the 1970s, as well as a prisoners' rights advocate and antiwar activist. She ran for president with Elizabeth Barron on the Peace and Freedom Party platform in 1980; they received 18,116 votes. Sonia Johnson Citizens Party: 1984 Sonia Johnson is a feminist and the founder of Mormons for the Equal Rights Amendment. She was excommunicated by the Mormon Church in 1979 for her political activism. Running for president in 1984 on the Citizens Party platform, she received 72,200 votes in 19 states though her party was not on the ballot. Gavrielle Holmes Workers World Party: 1984 Gavrielle Gemma Holmes is a labor and women's rights activist. She campaigned as a stand-in for her husband, Larry Holmes, who represented this far-left political party. The ticket secured representation only on the Ohio and Rhode Island ballots, however. Isabell Masters Looking Back Party: 1984Looking Back Party: 1992Looking Back Party: 1996Looking Back Party: 2000Looking Back Party: 2004 Five-time presidential candidate Isabell Masters sought the presidency five times between 1984 and 2004. She was an educator and single mother who raised six children. One son was part of the protest against the legal challenge waged by George W. Bush's team during the 2000 election recount in Florida, and one daughter was briefly married to Marion Barry, a former mayor of Washington, D.C. Patricia Schroeder Cynthia Johnson / Liaison / Getty Images Democratic Party: 1988 Democrat Pat Schroeder was first elected to Congress in 1972, making the second-youngest woman to hold that office. She represented the 1st District in Colorado until 1997 when she stepped down. In 1988, Schroeder was the campaign chairwoman for fellow Democrat Gary Hart's presidential bid. When Hart withdrew, Schroeder briefly entered the race in his place before withdrawing. Lenora Fulani David McNew / Getty Images American New Alliance Party: 1988American New Alliance Party: 1992 Psychologist and children's activist Lenora Fulani holds the distinction of being the first African American woman to secure a spot on the ballot in all 50 states. She has twice sought the presidency on the American New Alliance Party platform. Willa Kenoyer Socialist Party: 1988 Kenoyer gained fewer than 4,000 votes from 11 states in 1988 as a Socialist Party candidate for the presidency. Gloria E. LaRiva Workers World Party: 1992Party for Socialism and Liberation: 2008Party for Socialism and Liberation: 2016 Formerly a candidate for vice president with the Stalinist Workers World Party, LaRiva was put on the New Mexico ballot in 1992 and gained fewer than 200 votes. Susan Block Independent: 1992 Self-declared sex therapist and TV personality Susan Block registered as an independent candidate for president, and ran for vice president in 2008 as the running mate of artist Frank Moore. Helen Halyard Workers League: 1992 Another split from the Socialist Workers Party, the Workers League ran Halyard in 1992 and she gained just over 3,000 votes in the two states, New Jersey and Michigan, where she was on the ballot. She had run as a vice presidential candidate in 1984 and 1988. Millie Howard Millie Howard for President Web Site. Archived at the Library of Congress Republican Party: 1992Republican Party: 1996Independent: 2000Republican Party: 2004Republican Party: 2008 Millie Howard of Ohio ran "for President USA 1992 and Beyond." In the 2004 New Hampshire Republican primary, Howard received 239 votes. Monica Moorehead Workers World Party: 1996Workers World Party: 2000 Monica Moorehead, an African American activist, campaigned twice for president on the far-left Workers World Party ticket. She won just over 29,000 votes in 12 states in 1996. In the 2000 campaign, she won fewer than 5,000 votes in just four states. Filmmaker Michael Moore later claimed it was her candidacy that cost Democrat Al Gore the state of Florida in the 2000 presidential election. Marsha Feinland Peace and Freedom Party: 1996 Running with Kate McClatchy, the ticket received just over 25,000 votes and was only on the California ballot. Feinland also ran for U.S. Senate in 2004 and 2006, earning a few hundred thousand votes. Mary Cal Hollis Socialist Party: 1996 A longtime liberal political activist, Mary Cal Hollis was the Socialist Party's presidential candidate in 1996 and the party's vice presidential candidate in 2000. Hollis and her running mate, Eric Chester, were only on the ballot in 15 states. Heather Anne Harder A representation of the Nazca Lines (The Condor) at the Nazca Museum. Chris Beall / Getty Images Democratic Party: 1996Democratic Party: 2000 A spiritual advisor, life coach, and author, she issued a statement in 2000 as a candidate stating "UFOs exist and have always existed. You must only view the Nazca Lines in Peru as proof. No amount of Government denial will change my beliefs." Elvena E. Lloyd-Duffie Democratic Party: 1996 Suburban Chicagoan Lloyd-Duffie ran for the 1996 Republican nomination, getting more than 90,000 votes in the primaries of the five states where she was on the ballot. She ran on a platform that included free unlimited college tuition to anyone who wanted it, a stance against the welfare system ("Welfare is a disgusting and disgraceful thing," Duffie said. "Pity and compassion is stupidity without wisdom. Give their jobs to recipients and put the social workers on welfare. Everyone on welfare has lied to get on it."), and for balancing the budget (as an accountant, she said that "Once the books have been reviewed, (balancing the budget) can be done in three to four days."). Georgina H. Doerschuck Republican Party: 1996 Georgina Doerschuck ran in primaries in several states. Susan Gail Ducey Republican Party: 1996 In 2008, she ran for Congress from the 4th Congressional District of Kansas, as a Reform Party candidate. She ran as "a constitutionalist," who was against abortion and "for strong national defense." Ann Jennings Republican Party: 1996 She entered the primaries in several states. Mary Frances Le Tulle Republican Party: 1996 She ran in several states. Diane Beall Templin Independent American Party: 1996 Templin sought the presidency in 1996, running on the Independent American Party ticket in Utah and the American Party in Colorado. She garnered a minuscule percentage of the vote in both states. She has sought elected office in California several times since then. Elizabeth Dole Evan Agostini / Getty Images Republican Party: 2000 Elizabeth Dole has been active in Republican politics since the 1970s. She was secretary of transportation in the Reagan administration and labor secretary for George W. Bush. She is the wife of former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole, a former Republican presidential nominee. Elizabeth Dole raised millions for her 2000 campaign for the Republican nomination but withdrew before the first primary. She went on to be elected to the Senate from North Carolina in 2002. Cathy Gordon Brown Independent: 2000 Cathy Brown secured a spot as an independent candidate on the 2000 presidential ballot, but only in her home state of Tennessee. Carol Moseley Braun William B. Plowman / Getty Images Democratic Party: 2004 Braun campaigned in 2003 for the 2004 nomination, endorsed by several women's organizations. She dropped out in January 2004 for a lack of funds. She was already on the ballot in several states and garnered more than 100,000 votes in those primaries. Prior to her presidential run, she represented Illinois in the Senate. Hillary Rodham Clinton Mark Wilson / Getty Images Democratic Party: 2008 The closest that any woman had come to the nomination of a major party for president, Hillary Clinton began her campaign in 2007 and was expected by many to win the nomination. It was not until Barack Obama had locked in enough pledged votes by June 2008 that Clinton suspended her campaign and threw her support behind Obama. She went on to serve in Obama's administration as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. Active in politics since her college days, Clinton holds the distinction of being the only former first lady to also serve in the U.S. Senate, where she represented New York from 2001 to 2009. Cynthia McKinney Mario Tama / Getty Images Green Party: 2008 Cynthia McKinney served six terms in the House, representing Georgia's 11th District, then the 4th District, as a Democrat. She is the first African American woman to represent Georgia in Congress. After being defeated for reelection in 2006, McKinney ran for president in 2008 on the Green Party ticket. Michele Bachmann Richard Ellis / Getty Images Republican Party: 2012 Michelle Bachmann, a member of the House of Representatives from Minnesota and a founder of the Tea Party Caucus in Congress, began her presidential campaign in 2011, participating in several early debates of Republican candidates. She ended her campaign in January 2012 after she placed sixth (and last) in the Iowa caucuses, a state where she'd won a straw poll the previous August. Peta Lindsay Party for Socialism and Liberation: 2012 Born in 1984, and thus too young to be eligible to serve as president in 2013 were she to have been elected, Peta Lindsay was known as a student antiwar activist in high school and college. The Party for Socialism and Liberation nominated her for president for the 2012 presidential election. Her running mate, Yari Osorio, was born in Colombia and was also, therefore, constitutionally ineligible for office. Jill Stein Drew Angerer / Getty Images Green Party: 2012Green Party: 2016 Jill Stein headed the Green Party ticket in 2012, with Cheri Honkala as the party's candidate for vice president. A physician, Jill Stein has been an environmental activist who has campaigned for several state and local offices in Massachusetts—she was elected to the Lexington Town Meeting in 2005 and 2008. The Green Party officially nominated Stein as its presidential candidate on July 14, 2012. In 2016, she won the nomination of the Green Party again, briefly offering the top spot to Bernie Sanders after Hillary Clinton clinched the nomination of the Democratic Party. Roseanne Barr FilmMagic / Getty Images Peace and Freedom Party: 2012 This well-known comedian announced her candidacy for the presidency on "The Tonight Show" in 2011, first saying she was running on the Green Tea Party ticket. Instead, she formally announced her candidacy in January 2012 for the Green Party nomination, losing to Jill Stein. She then announced she would run at the top of the Peace and Freedom Party ticket with antiwar activist Cindy Sheehan as her running mate. The pair was nominated by the party in August 2012. Hillary Rodham Clinton Democratic National Convention: Day Four. Alex Wong / Getty Images Democratic Party: 2016 Clinton unsuccessfully ran for president in 2008 but came back in 2016 to run again. On July 26, 2016, Hillary Rodham Clinton became the first woman nominated by a major party in the United States for the office of president. On June 7, 2016, she had received enough votes at caucuses and primaries against her major opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, to clinch the nomination in pledged delegates. She said in her victory speech for the nomination: “Thanks to you, we’ve reached a milestone, the first time in our nation’s history that a woman will be a major party’s nominee. Tonight’s victory is not about one person—it belongs to generations of women and men who struggled and sacrificed and made this moment possible.” Carly Fiorina Darren McCollester / Getty Images Republican Party: 2016 Cara Carleton "Carly" Fiorina, a former business executive, announced her candidacy on May 4, 2015, for the Republican nomination for president for the 2016 election. She dropped out of the race in February 2016. A former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, Fiorina was forced to resign from that position in 2005 over differences in her management style and performance. She was an adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential run in 2008. She ran against incumbent Sen. Barbara Boxer in California for the U.S. Senate in 2010, losing by 10 percentage points. Tulsi Gabbard Democratic Party: 2020 Tulsi Gabbard was elected to represent Hawaii in the House of Representatives in 2012, making her the first Hindu member of Congress and one of only two female combat war veterans in Congress. She joined the Hawaii Army National Guard in 2003 and served two tours, voluntarily stepping down from her position as the youngest member of the Hawaii State Legislature to deploy to the Middle East in 2004. Gabbard ended her 2020 presidential campaign after voters favored former Vice President Joe Biden as the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. Elizabeth Warren Democratic Party: 2020 Sen. Elizabeth Warren became the first woman from Massachusetts to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012. Warren, a Democrat and former law professor, is known for her progressive consumer advocacy plans designed to empower the working class. Her presidential platform most notably included plans for a wealth tax that would be used to make health care and child care more accessible to all, cancel student debt, and fund education. Though she received an impressive amount of support during her campaign and was at one point considered to be a frontrunner, she dropped out of the race when she failed to rally enough votes on Super Tuesday. Amy Klobuchar Democratic Party: 2020 Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the first woman elected to represent Minnesota in the Senate. She has led many efforts in Congress to strengthen the economy by supporting small businesses and has taken extensive action to encourage fair competition between corporations. After ending her 2020 presidential campaign, Klobuchar was being seriously considered as Joe Biden's running mate. She withdrew her name from that position and advised him, "this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket." Kirsten Gillibrand Democratic Party: 2020 Kirsten Gillibrand is a progressive Democrat representing New York in the U.S. Senate. She has been an advocate for social justice, military expansion, and government accountability since she was first elected to the chamber in 2008, and these issues formed the basis of her presidential platform. She dropped out of the race in August 2019 after receiving very little support in early polls. Marianne Williamson Democratic Party: 2020 Marianna Williamson is an activist and bestselling author who campaigned for president on a platform that challenged traditional politics. A former pastor and spiritual authority, Williamson believes politics should be more holistic and should include emotion and spirituality to a much greater extent than it does. She garnered a good deal of attention during the Democratic Party's second primary debate for expressing plans to pursue reparations for slavery, but she ended her campaign in early 2020 when she did not meet fundraising targets. Kamala Harris Democratic Party: 2020 2020 vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris has made waves as the second African American woman to serve on the Senate, the first South Asian American to serve on the Senate, and now the first Black vice presidential nominee. Harris has been fighting for equal rights and the protection of oppressed minority groups in California since her election to the U.S. Senate in 2016 and intended to continue doing so if she and Biden were to win the presidential election. Jo Jorgensen Libertarian Party: 2020 Libertarian Jo Jorgensen was the Libertarian Party's choice for president in 2020. 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