New Jersey has only sent five women to Congress

If New Jersey does not elect a Congresswoman in the 2008 election, it will be the longest period of an all-male delegation since women won the right to vote in 1920.

The first of just five women to represent New Jersey in the U.S. House of Representatives was elected in 1924 — four years after the ratification of the nineteenth amendment. The first was Mary Norton, a political ally of Jersey City Mayor Frank Hague, who was also the first woman to serve on the Hudson County Board of Freeholders when she won in 1922.

Norton was the first Democratic woman to serve in Congress, and she became the first woman to chair a full committee in Congress when she became Chair of the House District of Columbia Committee in 1931. She chaired the House Labor Committee from 1937 to 1947 (she lost her chairmanship when the Democrats lost their majority in 1946 and was succeeded by another Member of Congress from Hudson County, Fred Hartley), and the House Administration Committee from 1949 to 1951. Norton was also the first woman to serve as a state party chair when she won the post in 1932. She retired in 1950 and died in 1959 at the age of 84.

Republican Florence Dwyer, who served from 1956 (when she defeated incumbent Harrison Williams), until her retirement in 1972; Republican Millicent Fenwick, who was elected in 1974 (for the open seat of retiring eleven-term incumbent Peter Frelinghuysen, she defeated future Governor Thomas Kean by 86 votes in the Republican primary) and served until losing a 1982 U.S. Senate race to Democrat Frank Lautenberg; Democrat Helen Stevenson Meyner, the wife of former Governor Robert Meyner (and cousin of Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson), beat Republican incumbent Joseph Maraziti in 1974, narrowly held the seat against former State Senator William Schluter in 1976, and lost to Republican James Courter in 1978; and Republican Marge Roukema, who ousted three-term Democrat Andrew Maguire in 1980 and served until her retirement in 2002. New Jersey has only sent five women to Congress