In New Jersey, a woman’s place is on the Board of Freeholders

Democrats have not nominated a woman for statewide office since 1930, when Thelma Parkinson, then a 32-year-old Democratic activist, ran for the United States Senate. Walter Edge resigned from the Senate in 1929 to become the U.S. Ambassador to France, and David Baird, a Camden County Republican leader, was appointed to fill the seat. Republicans ran millionaire industrialist Dwight Morrow, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and the father-in-law of aviator Charles Lindbergh. Democrats decided to run two candidates: Alexander Simpson, a State Senator from Bergen County, for the six-year term, and Parkinson in a Special Election for the remaining two months of Edge’s term. Parkinson won 38.6% of the vote, Simpson received 39%. Women have won Republican statewide nominations five times: Millicent Fenwick (1982), Mary Mochary (1984) and Christie Whitman for U.S. Senate, and Whitman for Governor in 1993 and 1997. Of the ten most populous states, New Jersey is the only one without a woman in its congressional delegation. New Jersey has been without a Congresswoman since Marge Roukema retired in 2003, and has only elected five women to Congress: Mary Norton (1924), Florence Dwyer (1956), Helen Meyner (1974), Fenwick (1974) and Roukema (1980). Norton and Meyner were Democrats; Dwyer, Fenwick and Roukema were Republicans.

In New Jersey, a woman’s place is on the Board of Freeholders