Women Win Big in Political Primaries
There could be some new faces this fall.
This week, on a day of political primaries across the country, women stood out as exceptionally strong candidates, especially in the nation’s most densely populated state: California.
There, Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman, who made their reputation in the business world, easily won the Republican nomination for, respectively, a U.S. Senate seat and the governorship. Fiorina will face long-time Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, while Whitman squares off against state Attorney General Jerry Brown, who has already served as the state’s governor, from 1979 to 1987.
Whitman, a graduate of Princeton and Harvard Business School, is the billionaire former head of eBay. A central figure in John McCain’s 2008 run for the White House, she’s been endorsed by McCain as well as former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Fiorina, a long-time AT&T executive who headed Hewlett-Packard for five years until she was fired for failing to achieve the company’s long-term goals, is a native Californian who voiced increasingly conservative views throughout the primary season. Ultimately, she spoke out in favor of SB1070, Arizona’s controversial law against illegal immigrants, despite the risk that it would cost her Hispanic votes.
She and Whitman have both expressed support for Proposition 8, the California measure that bans gay marriage.
Elsewhere in the country, a similar conservative pattern emerged:
*In Arkansas, incumbent moderate Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln won over the more liberal Lt. Gov. Bill Halter. But Lincoln now faces a tough fight with conservative businessman John Boozman.
*In Nevada, where Democratic Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid is considered vulnerable, Republic an voters chose Sharron Angle, a former state representative who ran a small Christian school for two years. Angle is backed by the conservative Tea Party.
*In South Carolina, Republican Nikki Haley, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin, beat three other candidates who were vying for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. But because she didn’t win 50 percent of the overall vote, Haley will face the second-place primary finisher, Gresham Barrett, in a runoff June 22. Political observers predicted that Haley will win easily.
Tell us: What do you think of these political victories?
Jane Farrell is a senior editor at BettyConfidential.