For only the second time in US history, two women will face off in a general election for governor. Vying for Hawaii’s top position, Democrat Mazie Hirono, two-term lieutenant governor, will face Republican Linda Lingle, the former mayor of Maui. The two women both won their respective party primaries this weekend in the nation’s last primary race before the November general election. On important women’s issues such as abortion, the two candidates differ, according to the Honolulu Advertiser. Hirono said she considers abortion “such a fundamental right” that the state should not intrude. Lingle, on the other hand, claims that she supports a woman’s right to an abortion but also believes that the state needs to pass tougher parental consent laws for minors seeking an abortion and opposes certain late-term abortion procedures.
US Representative Patsy Mink (D-HI) also coasted to victory in Hawaii this weekend, garnering 83 percent of the vote for her 13th term in Congress. Mink, 74, was the overwhelming victor in the Democratic primary despite the fact that she has been hospitalized for viral pneumonia and has not spoken publicly for more than three weeks.
Currently, there are five woman governors and that number could more than double this year. Last week, Massachusetts’ Shannon O’Brien became the eighth woman to win a Democratic gubernatorial nomination so far this year – she is joined by Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer in Alaska, state Attorney General Janet Napolitano in Arizona, state Treasurer Jimmie Lou Fisher in Arkansas, state Insurance Commissioner Kathleen Sebelius in Kansas, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in Maryland, state Attorney General Jennifer Granholm in Michigan and former state Sen. Myrth York in Rhode Island.
Washington Post 9/23/02; Associated Press 9/23/02, 9/22/02; Feminist Daily News 9/18/02