OK, I agree, the assertions that 2010 could be another "Year of the Woman" is a bit lame and — as the Washington Post's Anne Kornblut wrote on Thursday — "familiar." And yet I confess to being a bit bowled over at the success of female candidates in Tuesday's primaries, Republican and Democratic, supporters of abortion rights and opponents.
But Anne is right, of course. "Year of the Woman" is a hackneyed phrase that gets regurgitated at convenient times, and by now it often results in a rolling of the eyes.
Still, the fact is, many female challengers running for office this year are given solid shots at winning ... which was not the case in previous so-called YOTW.
Remember those nine women who challenged Senate incumbents in 1984, the year Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman to appear on a major-party presidential ticket? 0-for-9. Read 'em and weep:
Nancy Dick (D-CO), lost to Bill Armstrong w/35% of the vote
Elizabeth Mitchell (D-ME), lost to Bill Cohen w/26%
Joan Growe (D-MN), lost to Rudy Boschwitz w/41%
Nancy Hoch (R-NE), lost to Jim Exon w/48%
Mary Mochary (R-NJ), lost to Bill Bradley w/35%
Judy Pratt (D-NM), lost to Pete Domenici w/28%
Margie Hendrickson (D-OR), lost to Mark Hatfield w/33%
Barbara Leonard (R-RI), lost to Claiborne Pell w/27%
Edythe Harrison (D-VA), lost to John Warner w/30%
There were ten female challengers running for the Senate in 1992, the other "Year of the Woman," but this time there were successes ... four of them (in caps):
DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D-CA), beat Sen. John Seymour w/54%
BARBARA BOXER (D-CA), beat Bruce Herschensohn w/48%
CAROL MOSELEY-BRAUN (D-IL), beat Rich Williamson w/53%
PATTY MURRAY (D-WA), beat Rod Chandler w/54%
But there were also:
Claire Sargent (D-AZ), lost to John McCain w/32%
Jean Lloyd-Jones (D-IA), lost to Charles Grassley w/27%
Gloria O'Dell (D-KS), lost to Bob Dole w/31%
Geri Rothman-Serot (D-MO), lost to Kit Bond w/45%
Lynn Yeakel (D-PA), lost to Arlen Specter w/46%
Charlene Haar (R-SD), lost to Tom Daschle w/33%
Right now I'm going to go out on a limb and predict a woman will win the Senate race in California. You can quote me on that.