Women, Gender Gap Crucial to Democratic Gains in Congress

Women will gain three or four seats in the US Senate with the wins of Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), Mel Carnahan (D-MO), who will be replaced by his wife Jean, and with Maria Cantwell (D-OR) in a race still too close to call. In each of these races, women’s votes on the gender gap made the difference with a majority of women voting for the woman candidate and a majority of the men voting for her opponent. Clinton’s win can be directly attributed to an 11-point gender gap in the NY Senate seat race. A 10-point gender gap elected Michigan’s first woman Senator when Stabenow (D-MI) beat out single-term incumbent Spencer Abraham (R-MI). Carnahan’s election came with a decisive 6-point gender gap. At this hour, Cantwell (D-WA) is in a statistical dead heat–49 percent to 49 percent–with opponent incumbent Slade Gorton (R-WA) for the Washington State Senate seat. These wins give the US the largest number of women Senators in history.

With several races still too close to call, women have already gained three new women Representatives in the House: Hilda Solis (D-CA), Jane Harman (D-CA), and Susan Davis (D-CA). All three are pro-choice and strong feminists. In Florida, feminist Elaine Bloom (D-FL) is in a race against anti-choice Rep. Clay Shaw (R-FL), still too close to call. Bloom’s district is the same Palm Beach district in which Jewish American voters are questioning irregularities affecting the Gore numbers. Anti-choice Rep. Jim Rogan (R-CA), who was on the House Judiciary Committee impeachment panel, was defeated by pro-choice Adam Schiff (R-CA) in California. Rep. Sam Gejdenson (D-CT), pro-choice and progressive, was defeated in Connecticut. The Democrats have picked up 9 seats and have lost 8, with one more possible loss and one more possible gain.


Washington Post _ November 8, 2000; CNN _ November 8, 2000; Feminist Majority Foundation

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