The Corner

Year of the GOP Woman?

I’ve been looking over the 2010 Senate races. They could feature five female Republican nominees: Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire, Carly Fiorina in California, Sue Lowden in Nevada, Linda McMahon in Connecticut, and Jane Norton in Colorado. These ladies still have to survive primaries. It’s unlikely that all of them will. Yet each one is at least competitive and a sweep is not implausible. The only one who I think is definitely a weaker general-election candidate than her male opponent is McMahon, who faces former congressman Rob Simmons for the right to take on vulnerable incumbent Chris Dodd. Also, in four of the five potential match-ups between these female candidates and their likely Democratic adversaries, polls have shown the Republican woman ahead. The exception is Carly Fiorina in California, where she would have to close a gap between herself and Sen. Barbara Boxer. (The gap between Boxer and Fiorina’s GOP primary foe, state senator Chuck DeVore, is roughly the same size.) For what it’s worth, I met Fiorina when she passed through Washington a couple of weeks ago and came away impressed. She’s running as a genuine conservative, at least for now. Boxer is formidable and would be the favorite, but she would also have her hands full with Fiorina.

In 1992, Democrats elected four new female senators, all liberals. The media proclaimed it “the year of the woman” and celebrated. Don’t count on similar treatment for these Republican ladies, even if they go five for five.

John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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