(WOMENSENEWS)–As night fell across America Tuesday and the nation was enthralled by the seesaw contest between the presidential candidates, what was clear was that women had much to celebrate–and much to mourn.
In the win column: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign strategy paid off. She worked hard and harder again for 16 months. She visited each region of her adopted state over and over again, “wearing out six black pantsuits,” as she said in her acceptance speech.
In the end, she received 56 percent of the vote, compared with U.S. Rep. Rick Lazio’s 44 percent.
And at this writing, Maria Cantwell of Washington has been declared a winner in her run for the U.S. Senate, while the outcome of two other women’s senate races were too close to call.
Clinton not only is the first First Spouse to run for public office, but also the first woman senator to represent New York state. She joins a solid cadre of strong women in Congress, including Democrats Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Carolyn McCarthy and Nydia Velazquez.
In Delaware, Democrat Ruth Minner, the popular lieutenant governor, won her gubernatorial race with 59 percent of the vote. She campaigned on a promise to keep business within the state. Two other women were running for governor, but Heidi Heitkamp lost in North Dakota and Judy Martz was losing narrowing at this writing.
In Minnesota, voters will send the first women to Congress since 1956. State Rep. Betty McCollum, a pro-choice Democrat, will fill the seat vacated by the death of Bruce Vento in St. Paul. She defeated state Sen. Linda Runbeck, an anti-choice Republican. McCollum campaigned on environmental health, education, child care and prescription benefits for seniors.
The women running in tandem in Michigan may actually pull it off. Pro-choice Democrat U.S. Rep. Debbie Stabenow’s bid to unseat Republican Sen. Spencer Abraham–ranked high on NARAL’s Worst Choice List–was too close to call at this writing. State Sen. Dianne Byrum, Stabenow’s longtime political ally and also a Democrat, was running for Stabenow’s old seat, and that race was too close to call as well.
And in Washington state, Democrat Maria Cantwell, the RealNetworks self-made millionaire, defeated the anti-choice incumbent, Republican Slade Gorton. In West Virginia, Republican pro-choice candidate for the House, Shelly Moore Capito, was ahead by 1 percent at 1 a.m. Wednesday.
These few wins, however, were balanced by many losses for pro-choice women candidates across the country.Of the 22 non-incumbent women endorsed for the U.S. Congress by the National Women’s Political Caucus, only two were declared winners by 1 a.m. Wednesday–Minnesota’s Betty McCollum and California’s Hilda Solis.
Six others were in close, nail-biting races: Dianne Byrum in Michigan, Maryanne Connelly in New Jersey, Lauren Beth Gash in llinois and Elaine Bloom in Florida and Susan Davis and Gerrie Schipske in California.
The rest lost by significant margins, including the only Republican on the list, Jane Amero of Maine. Democrats losing were Susan Bass Levin of New Jersey; Heidi Behrens Benedict of Washington; Jane Frederick of South Carolina; Katina Johnstone and Joan Johnson of New York; Eleanor Jordan of Kentucky; Linda Mercurio of New Jersey; Shelley Kiel of Nebraska; Maryellen O’Shaughnessy of Ohio; Mary Rieder of Minnesota; Stephanie Sanchez of Connecticut and Jody Wagner in Virginia.
Dallas Democrat Regina Montoya-Coggins lost in the heart of Bush country Texas to incumbent ant-choice Republican, U.S. Rep. Pete Session. She fought hard, raising more than $1 million in campaign funds, but she lost by a large margin.
“She concedes nothing because she’s an advocate for the people and she will continue working for the people,” said Becca Sharp, Coggins’ campaign manager late Tuesday.
This was Coggins’ first run for elected office, but she did serve in the Clinton administration as assistant for intergovernmental affairs in the White House.
Photo: Elizabeth Randolph