OTI Online
Spring 1996

E l e c t i o n ' 9 6 :
10 New Women to Watch in '96
by Kay Mills


Here (in alphabetical order) are ten House and Senate candidates already endorsed by EMILY's List for the Democrats or by the WISH List for Republicans. Apart from being pro-choice these women differ widely on other issues. At press time, EMILY's List was backing 12 congressional candidates; the WISH List was supporting eight.

For more information, you can reach EMILY's List at 805 15th Street, N.W., #400, Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 326-1400, and the WISH List at 3205 N Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20007, (202) 342-9111.



Dolores Briones,

a hospital administrator in El Paso, Texas, is running for the House seat vacated by fellow Democrat Ronald Coleman. A community activist, Briones has been especially concerned with issues that affect immigrants and with other border questions. The [70% Hispanic] district is considered strongly Democratic.


Natalie Davis,

a political science professor is running in Alabama for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat from which fellow Democrat Howell Heflin is retiring. Davis had raised $280,000 by the end of 1995 and has good visibility from her commentaries on local TV and CNN. She has one or possibly two primary opponents and wants to raise what she calls "generational issues" like being forced to choose between caring for elderly parents and providing good education for one's kids.


Kathleen A. Donovan,

first woman to chair the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Bergen County clerk, is running for the House seat being vacated by Democrat Robert G. Torricelli. A former state legislator, Donovan has also chaired the state Republican Party and served on Governor Christine Todd Whitman's transition team. A moderate Republican, Donovan was active in the legislature on environmental issues and also hopes to stress children, senior citizens, and domestic violence.


Nancy Kaszak,

currently an Illinois state representative, wants to take Dan Rostenkowski's Chicago House seat back for the Democrats. Before she can oppose freshman Republican Michael Patrick Flanagan, however, she must win a primary against fellow legislator Rod Blagojevich, son-in-law of powerful city alderman Richard Mell. As a legislator, Kaszak has been an advocate for issues involving children and women, especialy women in small businesses.


Nancy Mayer,

Rhode Island's state treasurer, is a candidate for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Democrat Claiborne Pell. An attorney and pro-choice Republican, she was chief legal counsel for the state agency regulating banking, insurance, and securities before her election to the treasurer's post in 1992.


Dale McCormick,

a Democratic state senator in Maine and open lesbian, plans to challenge freshman Republican Rep. James B. Longley, Jr. in a district that has sent as many Democrats as Republicans to Congress since 1968. Longley won his '94 race by 52 to 48 percent after its Democratic incumbent unsuccessfully sought the open Senate seat Olympia Snowe won handily.


Gale Norton,

Gale Norton, Colorado's attorney general since 1991, is running for Hank Brown's U.S. Senate seat. Norton is a pro-choice Republican and tends toward the conservative side on environmental and economic issues. When she won her second term in 1994, she was Colorado's biggest vote-getter.


Debbie Stabenow,

a former Michigan state senator and gubernatorial candidate, is running against freshman Republican Dick Chrysler. A moderate Democrat with no primary opposition, she sponsored legislation that eliminated property taxes as the source of money for school districts, halving those taxes for many homeowners. She opposes Republican plans on Medicaid and Medicare and phasing out the Small Business Administration and Commerce Department, which her opponent backs.


Jane M. Swift,

a Massachusetts state senator whose district includes the Berkshires, is running for the House seat held since 1991 by Democrat John Olver. Republican Silvio Conte represented the district for 32 years before his death that year. In her third term in the state senate, Swift was named to the Republican leadership team in 1993. If elected, Swift says she would belong to the GOP's moderate bloc. She supports the balanced budget amendment, campaign reform, and term limits.


Maggie Tinsman

is the only woman and only pro-choice candidate in the Republican primary for the Senate seat held by Democrat Tom Harkin of Iowa, who is running again. A state senator and former county supervisor, she describes herself as a fiscal conservative.

See also:

Election '96: Running Scared

The Lessons of '92 by Kay Mills.


Kaszak photo: Stuart Rodgers Ltd. Mayer photo: Bernard Studio. Swift photo: Cheryl Clermont. Democrat and Republican Party logos illustrated by Dawn Beard.


Kay Mills, a California journalist, is author of From Pocahontas to Power Suits: Everything You Need to Know About Women's History in America (Plume) and This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer (NAL/Dutton).


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