This paper documents gender differences in the career paths of novice politicians. Using trajectories of over 11,000 candidates for California local offices and a regression discontinuity approach, I investigate the persistence of candidates after they win or lose elections. Losing an election causes over 50 percent more attrition among female than male candidates. Yet the gender gap in persistence depends on the setting: there is a smaller gap among candidates for high female representation offices and among candidates with prior elective experience. I discuss how the expected costs and benefits of running again potentially explain the gender gap in persistence.