On the Death of Geraldine Ferraro: NC Women have Defeated Men in 23 of 31 Statewide Campaigns Since 2000

by johndavis, March 30, 2011

[audio:http://www.johndavisconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/JDPR-MARCH-30-2011-Ferraro.mp3|titles=JDPR MARCH 30 2011 Ferraro] “Do not put such unlimited powers into the hands of the Husbands.  Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.  If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which
[More…]


[audio:http://www.johndavisconsulting.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/JDPR-MARCH-30-2011-Ferraro.mp3|titles=JDPR MARCH 30 2011 Ferraro]

“Do not put such unlimited powers into the hands of the Husbands.  Remember all men would be tyrants if they could.  If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

From a letter written by Abigail Adams to her husband, John,
who was attending the Continental Congress, March 31, 1776

We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems

When Abigail Adams threatened in her March 31, 1776 letter to her husband, John, that women would “foment a Rebellion” if they were not given a say in the new laws of the land, he wrote in reply, “We know better than to repeal our Masculine systems.”

The exchange between Abigail and John Adams amplifies the most important conclusion in this report:  women were not given equal rights by men, they had to seize them.

March is National Women’s History Month.  The 2011 theme is, “Our History is Our Strength.”  President Obama issued a proclamation in which he stated that this is the month during which, “we reflect on the extraordinary accomplishments of women and honor their role in shaping the course of our Nation's history.”

Likewise, Gov. Beverly Perdue, North Carolina's first woman governor, formally announced Women's History Month with a proclamation that included this bit of history: "WHEREAS, in 1774, fifty-one women organized the Edenton Tea Party, one of the earliest political acts taken by North Carolina women in protest of the taxation of the colonies without representation within the British government.”

This report is written in honor of Women’s History Month and on the occasion of the death of Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman Vice Presidential candidate of a major political party in American history (Mondale/Ferraro defeated in 1984 by Reagan/Bush).  Although she did not live to realize her dream of attending “the inauguration of first woman president of the United States," surely she must have been made proud a thousand times over as women, inspired in part by her example, seized opportunities to lead throughout every walk of life.

Women Governors and State Executive Elective Offices

North Carolina Leads the South with Women Elected to State Executive Offices

State Executive Elective Offices: In 2011, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers, women hold 69 of the nation’s 317 state executive elective offices (38 Democrats, 30 Republicans, and one independent) … including six governorships.

Gov. Beverly Perdue, North Carolina’s first women governor, chairs the Council of State, comprised of 9 statewide executive elective offices.  Women hold 5 of the 9 positions, including Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry, Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, State Treasurer Janet Cowell and State Auditor Beth Wood.

In addition to Gov. Perdue here in North Carolina, Oklahoma has a Democrat woman governor.  There are four Republican women serving as governor, including Arizona, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and New Mexico.

  • Ella Grasso (D-CT) was the first woman governor elected in her own right (1974)
  • 34 women have served as governor in 26 states (19 Democrats, 15 Republicans)
  • All but 3 women governors have been elected since Ferraro’s 1984 VP race[1]
  • NC leads the South in 2011 with 6 women elected to state executive offices (5D, 1R)
  • Women currently serving in state executive elective offices in Southern states: AL 5, OK 3, FL 2, TX 2, KY 2, AR 1, SC 1
  • GA, VA, TN, LA and MS have “0” women serving in state executive elective offices

North Carolina’s Battle of the Sexes since 2000: Women 23, Men 8

In 1996, Elaine Marshall, a Democrat from Lillington, became North Carolina’s first woman elected to a statewide executive office.  Marshall out-raced her GOP opponent, “The King” of NASCAR, Richard Petty, by several car lengths.

Since November 2000, there have been 31 statewide general election races in North Carolina that pitted a man against a woman, including state judiciary offices, state executive offices, and federal statewide offices.  Women have won 23 of those 31 races, including two women elected to the U.S. Senate, Elizabeth Dole, a Republican, and Kay Hagan, a Democrat.

As a result of those 23 statewide wins, women have the majority of the Council of State and the North Carolina Supreme Court.  The seven-member court includes Chief Justice Sarah Parker, Justice Patricia Timmons-Goodson (NC’s first African American woman on the court), Justice Robin Hudson and Justice Barbara Jackson.

The North Carolina Court of Appeals had an 8/7 female majority until Gov. Perdue appointed Judge Cressie Thigpen in January to fill the unexpired term of Judge Barbara Jackson, shifting the Court of Appeals to 8/7 male judges.

A toilet, not a urinal, in the judge’s chambers … or go to jail!

Susie Sharp was the first woman to serve on the North Carolina Supreme Court.  She was appointed in 1962 by Democratic Gov. Terry Sanford to fill an unexpired term.  Rhoda Billings was the first Republican woman on the Supreme Court, appointed by GOP Gov. Jim Martin.  In 1986, Justice Billings was appointed Chief Justice, the first Republican woman.

In 1974, Sharp became the first female in the U.S. to be elected Chief Justice of a state Supreme Court, with a landslide 74% of the vote.  However, in the early days of her distinguished career, while serving as the state’s first woman Superior Court Judge, she was not so well received.

On the occasion of the unveiling of Sharp’s portrait at the Supreme Court in 1996, Franklin Freeman, a former Associate Justice, gave the formal address in which he told the story of her confrontation with Burke County commissioners over the matter of the need for a toilet in the judge’s chambers.

“The Burke County commissioners refused, upon learning of her assignment to their county, to modify the only bathroom facilities in the judge's chambers; a sink and a urinal that hung on the wall. Judge Sharp opened court on Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. and ordered the sheriff to "invite" the county commissioners over to the courthouse. By 11:00, the courthouse was aflutter with the scurrying about of plumbers, carpenters, and electricians, while the county commissioners narrowly avoided a few nights repose in the county jail.”

Restated for emphasis: women were not given equal rights by men, they had to seize them.

Here are the 31 statewide races in North Carolina since election year 2000 that pitted a woman candidate against a man:

Election Year 2000

Secretary of State

Elaine Marshall (D) defeated Harris Blake (R)

Commissioner of Labor

Cherie Berry (R) defeated Doug Berger (D)

Commissioner of Agriculture

Meg Phipps (D) defeated Steve Troxler (R)

Court of Appeals

Robin Hudson (D) defeated Paul Stam (R)

John Martin (D) defeated Wendy Enochs (R)

Election Year 2002

U.S. Senate

Elizabeth Dole (R) defeated Erskine Bowles (D)

Court of Appeals

Martha Geer (D) defeated Bill Constangy (R)

Sanford Steelman (R) defeated Loretta Biggs (D)

Election Year 2004

Lt. Governor

Beverly Perdue (D) defeated Jim Snyder (R)

Superintendent of Public Instruction

June Atkinson (D) defeated Bill Fletcher (R)

Commissioner of Labor

Cherie Berry(R) defeated Wayne Goodwin (D)

Supreme Court

Sarah Parker (D) defeated John Tyson (R)

Court of Appeals

Linda McGee (D) defeated Bill Parker (R)

Barbara Jackson (R) defeated Alan Thornburg (D)

Election Year 2006

Supreme Court

Sarah Parker (D) defeated Rusty Duke (R)

Patricia Timmons-Goodson (D) defeated Eric Levinson (R)

Mark Martin (R) defeated Rachel Lea Hunter (D)

Election Year 2008

President

Obama/Biden (D) defeated McCain/Palin (R)

Governor

Beverly Perdue (D) defeated Pat McCrory (R)

Secretary of State

Elaine Marshall (D) defeated Jack Sawyer (R)

Auditor

Beth Wood (D) defeated Les Merritt (R)

Treasurer

Janet Cowell (D) defeated Bill Daughtridge (R)

Superintendent of Public Instruction

June Atkinson (D) defeated Richard Morgan (R)

Supreme Court Justice

Justice Robert Edmunds (R) defeated Suzanne Reynolds (D)

Court of Appeals Judge

Judge Linda Stephens (D) defeated Dan Barrett (R)

Cheri Beasley (D) defeated Doug McCullough (R)

Sam Ervin IV (D) defeated Kristen Ruth (D)

Judge Jim Wynn (D) defeated Jewel Ann Farlow (R)

Election Year 2010

United States Senate

Sen. Richard Burr (R) defeated Secretary of State Elaine Marshall (D)

Supreme Court Justice

Judge Barbara Jackson (R) defeated Judge Bob Hunter (D)

Court of Appeals Judge

Judge Martha Geer (D) defeated Dean Poirier (R)


Ferraro’s Dream: the inauguration of the first woman US President

When Abigail Adams wrote to her husband on March 31, 1776, “If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation,” little did she know that the “Rebellion” would take two centuries.

John Adams would follow George Washington as the nation’s chief executive, elected President of the United States in 1796.  It would be exactly 200 years later, 1996, before the first woman would serve in an executive role as important as Secretary of State of the United States … the highest-ranking cabinet secretary in line of succession in the event of the death or incapacity of the president. Her name was Madeleine Korbel Albright.

Madeleine Albright was born in Prague, the daughter of a Czech diplomat.  She was appointed Secretary of State in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, becoming the 64th US Secretary of State.  Since Albright, two women have been appointed Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, appointed by Republican President G.W. Bush in 2005, and the current US Secretary of State, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton, appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama in 2009.

Although Geraldine Ferraro died last week before realizing her dream of attending “the inauguration of first woman president of the United States," surely she took great pride in just how close Hillary Clinton came to winning the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008, and in seeing another woman run on a major party presidential ticket with the selection of Sarah Palin by GOP presidential nominee John McCain.

She didn’t live to see a woman president, but she lived to see tens of thousands of women elected to governmental service and ascend to the highest positions of respect and authority in public and private life; she lived to see tens of millions of women seize their equal rights and opportunities.

One day these awe inspiring words will be spoken, and when they are, we will remember Geraldine Ferraro: “Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States and Mister ….”


[1] Refers to women elected in their own right.

Please subscribe to the John Davis Political Report for the 2011-2012 election cycle.  The Premium subscription is $485 a year.  Subscribe online today at www.johndavisconsulting.com/subscribe.

The Advantage subscription is $4,850 per year.  This subscription covers the John Davis Political Report with unlimited distribution rights to your employees or trade association members, along with private political briefings for you, your employees and leadership team, all conducted personally by me at your offices or conference locations.  Call me if you are interested and I will come visit with you: 919-696-3859.

Sincerely,

John N. Davis, President

Comments are closed.