A Record Number of U.S. Scientists Are Running for Office in 2018

Researchers at a pro-science rally in San Francisco in December 2016.

Researchers at a pro-science rally in San Francisco in December 2016. Peg Hunter/Flickr

An unprecedented number of candidates with backgrounds in science, technology, engineering, and math are running for United States office this year at both the state and federal level, according to reporting by The Huffington Post. More than 60 people coming from these fields are running for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in midterm elections this November, and at least 200 others have declared their candidacy for open state legislature seats.

The data comes from 314 Action, a political action committee launched in 2016 to help scientists run for office. The group said it is talking with 500 more people with science backgrounds who are interested in possibly running for office, and counts another 200 candidates running for school boards. 

314 Action says the surge in scientific candidates is due in large part to the Trump administration’s dismantling of environmental regulations and the Republican-led Congress’ attacks on science.

“The sheer number is really astonishing,” 314 Action founder Shaughnessy Naughton told the Huffington Post. “We’ve never seen anything like this… These are not people that envision themselves as politicians and build a résumé around that. These are people that are genuinely outraged and concerned by the direction the country is going in, especially in this administration and this Congress.”

The candidates include Democrat Joseph Kopser, a technology and clean energy entrepreneur, who is hoping to unseat Texas Republican Representative Lamar Smith, chair of the House science committee; Democrat Hans Keirstead, a neuroscientist and stem cell researcher, running to unseat Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher of Orange County, California; and Aruna Miller, a civil engineer and current Maryland state delegate, who is running to represent Maryland’s 6th district.