by Karl Kurtz
Updating The Thicket's ever-popular biennial series on women governors, the total number of women governors after the 2010 election declined to six from eight after each of the four preceding elections. But the four Republican female governors elected last fall--Jan Brewer in Arizona, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, Mary Fallin in Oklahoma and Nikki Haley in South Carolina--are an all-time high for that party. The two Democratic holdovers are Gov. Christine Gregoire in Washington and Beverly Perdue of North Carolina.
Here's a chart showing the number of women governors since 1975 (before Connecticut's Ella Grasso in 1975 there were only three women governors, the first two starting in 1925):
Why the decline in the number of women governors? Politics and term limits: Among the eight who were in office in January 2009, Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas resigned when she joined the Obama administration, Alaska's Sarah Palin resigned to pursue other options after her vice presidential campaign, and Linda Lingle (Hawaii), Jennifer Granholm (Michigan) and Jodi Rell (Connecticut) were term-limited. Only Gregoire, Brewer and Perdue continue from the 2009 class.