14
Seeking
the Senate

The 1982 elections have become a watershed for women candidates in New Jersey, thanks to Rep. Millicent Fenwick of Bernardsville. Whether or not she wins the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate on June 8, Mrs. Fenwick has become the first woman candidate whose strong presence has dictated political strategy in both parties during a campaign.

—Joseph F. Sullivan, New York Times, May 23, 1982

In 1981, Democrats dominated New Jersey's political scene. They held not only the governorship but also the majority in the state legislature. When new congressional boundaries needed to be drawn, based on the 1980 census, it was the Democrats who were in control. As a result of the census data, New Jersey was losing a congressional seat. Instead of fifteen congressional districts there would be fourteen. The Almanac of American Politics reported, “New Jersey deserves the award for the least aesthetically pleasing redistricting plan of 1981– 82. It is, plain and simple, a Democratic gerrymandering, passed by the Democratic legislature in the last days of Brendan Byrne's governorship.” 1 Once the new boundaries were drawn, Republicans lost two seats, one in Bergen County and the other in Somerset County. The latter was Millicent's congressional district. Parts of her district and the districts of two other Republicans, Matt Rinaldo and Jim Courter, were absorbed into the redrawn Fifth, Seventh, and Twelfth Districts. Much of Fenwick's old Fifth District, including Bernardsville, was now part of the Twelfth District, as was Rinaldo's hometown, Union. Although Rinaldo and Fenwick lived in the new Twelfth District, neither sought office there. Instead, Rinaldo ran in the Seventh District, which encompassed much of his constituency. Fenwick, on the other hand,

-196-

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Millicent Fenwick: Her Way
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Millicent Fenwick *
  • 1 - A Gilded Past 1
  • 2 - Battle Cry 16
  • 3 - A Blended Family 26
  • 4 - Building Character 37
  • 5 - Ambassador's Daughter 45
  • 6 - Love, Scandal, Marriage 60
  • 7 - The Vogue Years 75
  • 8 - Retreating to the Country 99
  • 9 - Outhouse Millie 116
  • 10 - A Geriatric Triumph 134
  • 11 - The Conscience of Congress 147
  • 12 - Pursuing Human Rights 162
  • 13 - Lacey Davenport 184
  • 14 - Seeking the Senate 196
  • 15 - A Little Bit Useful 213
  • 16 - My Way 223
  • Notes 239
  • Selected Bibliography 263
  • Index 271
  • About the Author *
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