This may not come as a surprise, but fewer women are being elected to local office in New Jersey.

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Of the state's 565 mayors, only 69 are women, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. That number is down from 80 just last year.

It is hard to identify exactly why the number of women in local office decreased over the past year. What happens over the next cycle will be the true indicator, according to Kelly Dittmar, assistant research professor at the Center.

"What we do know is that even over the last ten years, the increases we've seen have been very minimal, so we've been really at a flatline for over a decade," Dittmar said. "Sadly, that's consistent with what we've seen at higher levels of office on both the state and national levels."

Women make the decision to run for office differently than men, so Dittmar said it is often difficult to get enough women in the pipeline who are both willing to run and have the support they need to make a successful bid for office.

"Where it may be tougher is that when you have a high influence of parties or organizations that have a significant influence on who gets selected to run, that's where we see the difference between men and women," she said. "Women are less likely to be recruited than men although that recruitment is more important for women. We know that when women run, they win, so it's just a matter of getting them on the ballot."

The Center for American Women and Politics does offer programs for women who are interested or considering a run for office. "Ready to Run" is a two-day training program offered every year in March, giving women the nuts and bolts of what they need to know in order to launch a successful campaign.

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