Today, Women's eNews begins its campaign blog on t

(WOMENSENEWS)–Record turnout of women and Hispanic voters provided the winning edge to Hillary Clinton, the first ever formidable female candidate for U.S. president. Democratic men tended to vote for Barack Obama.

News organizations declared Clinton as the victor in California, giving her the majority of the convention delegates up for grabs. However, with Obama’s strong showing, the battle is likely to intensify as the primaries continue, perhaps into the April 22 Pennsylvania primary.

Clinton failed to carry Connecticut, apparently as the result of black women voting for Obama, joining white and black men. In fact, black women are a key constituency that Clinton was not able to keep or draw into her camp.

In contrast, the Hispanic vote carried many states for Clinton, particularly Arizona and California. Margarita Quihuis, a Silicon Valley leader in the Hispanic community, said Wednesday a.m. that the Hispanic vote was “very loyal” to Clinton. She added that her community was tired of the hostile, anti-immigrant atmosphere that pervaded much of the Bush era and touches many Hispanics who were born in the United States. Quihuis is a member of the Women’s eNews board of directors.

At 12:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Clinton had 466 delegates pledged to her; Obama, who did well in the South, in his home states of Illinois and Kansas and in Connecticut, giving him 411 delegates. These tallies do not include the California delegates.

Barbara Lee, a zealous Clinton supporter, spoke from a victory party in Massachusetts on what she believed a Clinton presidency would mean.

When Clinton was first lady,” Lee recalled, “she went to 82 countries and she insisted on meeting with women’s leaders. In some cases, government leaders had to go out and find them. She sparked women’s movements across the globe and because of her women and girls now have the right to go to school, the right to own property and the right to vote. She stood up for women in those countries and she will change our foreign policy on day one.”

Lee, a principal in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation based in Cambridge, Mass., initiated the White House Project and supported research for the past 10 years on women’s gubernatorial campaigns and their performances in office.

The most recent publication from the Lee Foundation is: Women Governors Exceed Voter Expectations with High Performance Ratings

“Tonight’s primaries demonstrate the strength and influence of women voters and their enduring support for Hillary Clinton,” said Ellen R. Malcolm, president of EMILY’s List on Super Tuesday primaries, in a statement issued at 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.

“Exit polling consistently showed, from Massachusetts to Arizona, women turning out in unprecedented numbers and providing the margin of victory in this historic national primary. The country saw tonight what EMILY’s List has known for more than two decades–when women vote women win!”

For a complete breakdown of the primary vote by gender, go to Emily’s List at

“A victory for her is a victory for women and a victory for our nation and our country,” said Bernice Sandler, known as the godmother of Title IX, the law that bars gender bias in education. “And because of Title IX, she is just the first woman to do this and is certainly not the last.” Bernice Sandler is a senior scholar at the Women’s Research and Education Institute.

To find out more about Title IX, see License to Thrive

Note: Each of those quoted above is a Women’s eNews 21 Leader for the 21st Century from previous years.

Illinois House Races

Whoever wins the presidential election, she or he will have to contend with a Congress–most likely under Democratic control, with Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House, and quite possibly with a veto-proof Democratic majority.

In addition to reporting on the presidential primary races, Women’s eNews will publish the results of key congressional primaries throughout the 2008 campaigns in which women are candidates.

Rita H. Jensen

Illinois is the only state that hosted primary races for House or Senate seats on Feb. 5. In the Senate, no women are running in the Democratic primary against incumbent Dick Durbin; the other seat, held by Democrat Barack Obama, is not up for grabs until 2010.

Six women are running for House seats representing Illinois.

State Senate Majority Leader Debbie Halvorson ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination for the open seat held by Rep. Jerry Weller, a Republican who is retiring in 2008, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Iraq war veteran Jill Morgenthaler clinched the nomination for the right to take on Rep. Pete Roskam, who defeated Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth in the 2006 midterm elections. And Rep. Melissa Bean beat back a primary challenge from anti-war activist Randi Scheurer.

Incumbents Jan Schakowsky, a Democrat, and Judy Biggert, a Republican, won the right to seek re-election this fall.

Rita Henley Jensen, editor in chief of Women’s eNews, contributed to this blog; Allison Stevens is Women’s eNews’ Washington bureau chief.

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For more information:

Center for American Women and Politics’ List of Female Candidates:

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