Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Women Candidates Expect Electoral Gains This Fall

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Women Candidates Expect Electoral Gains This Fall

Article excerpt

THIS year women candidates across the country are taking advantage of new political opportunities and more are running for public office than ever before, say women's advocacy groups and political observers.

Approximately 120 women candidates have declared or are seriously considering declaring candidacies for the US House of Representatives this year while approximately 15 women are similarly interested in Senate races, according to Jane Danowitz, executive director of the Women's Campaign Fund in Washington.

"It has got to be a record number," Ms. Danowitz says. "The significant part is not only are the numbers extraordinary, but the opportunity these candidates have is extraordinary."

Women candidates will benefit this year by congressional seat openings due to redistricting, the decennial task of redrawing congressional district lines.

In addition, new women candidates will also reap benefits from a growing public mistrust of incumbents as well as a surge in contributions to women political groups in the wake of Senate hearings last fall on Supreme court nominee Clarence Thomas, says Ellen Malcolm, president of EMILY's List, a fund-raising organization that backs Democratic pro-choice women candidates.

Ms. Malcolm says the number of contributors for her organization has doubled since the hearings. "We see from the Thomas Hill hearings a tremendous outpouring of energy and contributions for women candidates because so many people understood how few women are in Congress and are determined to change that," she says.

That was proved true in Illinois last month when Carol Mosely Braun won the Democratic senatorial nomination over Sen. Alan Dixon (D), an incumbent. Ms. Braun's victory was due, in part, to support from women's and liberal democratic groups angered by Senator Dixon's vote to confirm Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Mr. Thomas faced allegations of sexual harassment brought against him by Oklahoma law professor Anita Hill.

Ms. Braun, who is black, won the primary election by capturing 38 percent of the vote compared to Senator Dixon's 35 percent. …

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