All the Women Who Have Run for President of the U.S.

Hillary Clinton waves in front of crowd of people waving U.S. flags
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign for president of the United States is only the most recent example of a woman running for the highest office in the land. Dozens of women from political parties major and minor have sought the presidency, some even before women had the right to vote in elections. Here's a list of all the female presidential candidates (through the 2016 election), arranged chronologically by each woman's first campaign for the office.

Victoria Woodhull
Bettmann / Contributor / Getty Images

Equal Rights Party: 1872; Humanitarian 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. More »

Belva Lockwood
Library of Congress

National Equal Rights Party: 1884, 1888

Belva Lockwood, an activist for voting rights for women and for African-Americans, was also one of the first women lawyers in the United States. Her campaign for president in 1884 was the first full-scale national campaign of a woman running for president. More »

Laura Clay
Library of Congress

Democratic Party, 1920

Laura Clay is best known as a Southern women's rights advocate who nevertheless opposed granting African-American women the right to vote. Clay had her name placed in nomination at the 1920 Democratic National Convention, to which she was a delegate. More »

Gracie Allen

Gracie Allen
John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Surprise Party: 1940

Gracie Allen, a comedian, was already well known to most Americans as George Burns's 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 / Contributor / 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. More »

Charlene Mitchell

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 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 Announcing Her Run for the Presidency 1972
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. More »

Patsy Takemoto Mink

Patsy Takemoto Mink
Bettmann / Contributor / 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
Bella Abzug in 1971. Tim Boxer/Getty Images

 Democratic Party: 1972

One of three women to seek 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

Linda Jenness
Hake's Americana and Collectables / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Socialist Workers Party: 1972

Linda Jenness ran against Richard Nixon in 1972 and was on the ballot in 25 states. But she was only 31 at the time, four years too young to serve as president, according to the U.S. Constitution. In three states where Jenness was not accepted for the ballot because of her age, Evelyn Reed was in the presidential slot. Their vote total was less than 70,000 nationally.

Evelyn Reed

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 Communist Party activist in the U.S. and active in the women's movement of the 1960s and '70s.

Ellen McCormack

Democratic Party: 1976; Right to Life Party: 1980

In the 1976 campaign, antiabortion 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.

Deidre Griswold

Workers World Party: 1980

Deidre 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 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 26 states, six of those from write-ins because 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.

Isabelle Masters

 Looking Back Party, etc.: 1984, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 

She ran in the most presidential elections of any woman in US history. An educator and single mother who raised six children. One son was part of the protest against the Bush legal challenge to the 2000 primary in Florida, and one daughter was briefly married to Marion Barry, former Washington DC mayor.

Patricia Schroeder

Representative Pat Schroeder
Cynthia Johnson/Liaison/Getty Images

Democratic Party: 1988

Democrat Pat Schroeder was first elected to Congress in 1972, the third-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

Women with political convention credentials
David McNew / Getty Images

American New Alliance Party: 1988, 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 / Party for Socialism and Liberation: 1992, 2008, 2016

Formerly a candidate for VP with the Stalinist WWP, LaRiva was put on the New Mexico ballot in 1992 and gained fewer than 200 votes. 

Susan Block

 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
Millie Howard for President Web Site. Archived at the Library of Congress

 Republican: 1992, 1996; Independent: 2000; Republican: 2004, 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: 1996, 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 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, only were on the ballot in 12 states.

Heather Anne Harder

A representation of the Nazca Lines (The Condor) at the Nazca Museum.
A representation of the Nazca Lines (The Condor) at the Nazca Museum. Chris Beall / Getty Images

 Democratic Party: 1996 and 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 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 any who wanted it, 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 

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," "for strong national defense," and "pro-life."

Ann Jennings

 Republican Party: 1996 

She entered the primaries in several states.

Mary Frances Le Tulle

 Republican Pary, 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.

Republican Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Dole, 1999
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 himself. Elizabeth Dole raised more than $5 million 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.​ More »

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. 

Moseley-Braun Campaigns in New Hampshire 2003
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 lack of funds. She was already on the ballot in several states and drew more than 100,000 votes in those primaries. Prior to her presidential run, she had served in the U.S. Senate, representing Illinois. More »

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Hillary Clinton concedes the race for the Democratic presidential momination, 2008
Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Democratic Party: 2008 (2016 described below)

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 to 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. She represented New York from 2001 to 2009.

Cynthia McKinney

Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney, 2008
Mario Tama/Getty Images

Green Party: 2008

Cynthia McKinney served six terms in the House, representing first Georgia's 11th District, then 4th District as a Democrat. She is the first African-American woman to represent Georgia in Congress. After being defeated for re-election in 2006, McKinney ran for president on the Green Party ticket.

Michele Bachmann

Michele Bachmann Campaigning, August 2011
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, when she placed sixth (and last) in the Iowa caucuses with less than 5 percent of the votes in a state where she'd won a straw poll the previous August.

Peta Lindsay

Party for Socialism and Liberation: 2012

An antiwar activist 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, born in Colombia, was also constitutionally ineligible for office.

Jill Stein

Green Party Candidate Jill Stein Announces Her Presidential Run
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Green Party: 2012, 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, elected to the Lexington Town Meeting in 2005 and 2008. The Green Party officially nominated Jill Stein 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

Roseanne Barr's 'Roseanne For President!'
FilmMagic / Getty Images

Peace and Freedom Party: 2012

This well-known comedienne 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 vice president. The pair were nominated by the party in August 2012.

Hillary Clinton

Democratic National Convention: Day Four
Democratic National Convention: Day Four. Alex Wong / Getty Images

 Democratic Party, 2016

She ran for president unsuccessfully in 2008 (above) 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 election 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 Fiorinia

Carly Fiorina Holds 'Coffee With Carly' Campaign Event In Manchester
Darren McCollester / Getty Images

Republican Party: 2016

Cara Carleton Sneed 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 John McCain's presidential run in 2008. She ran against incumbent Barbara Boxer in California for the U.S. Senate in 2010, losing by 10 percentage points.

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Lewis, Jone Johnson. "All the Women Who Have Run for President of the U.S." ThoughtCo, Oct. 20, 2017, thoughtco.com/women-who-ran-for-president-3529994. Lewis, Jone Johnson. (2017, October 20). All the Women Who Have Run for President of the U.S. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/women-who-ran-for-president-3529994 Lewis, Jone Johnson. "All the Women Who Have Run for President of the U.S." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/women-who-ran-for-president-3529994 (accessed November 21, 2017).