Jersey Girls

Jersey voters made history on Tuesday. Most readers probably don’t realize it – that’s because most of the New Jersey press corps skipped the story.

Wasn’t the rejection of ballot questions — although that was a reversal from past trends.

Not the large number of seats that turned over due to voluntary retirements and indictments of sitting legislators.

Nope — it was the number of women elected to the New Jersey legislature for the first time in the state's history. Thirty four seats in all — a pick-up of 11 seats!

DID YOU KNOW?: "New Jersey ranks 35th among the 50 states for women’s representation at the state legislative level. Women hold 7seats in the Senate and 16 in the Assembly for a total of 23 out of the 120 legislative seats, or 19.2 percent," according to the Center for American Women in Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers.

In one historic evening, New Jersey shed that dubious distinction it shared with forward-looking states like Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee. Come January, NJ will catapult from the bottom of the heap to 15th in the nation for proportion of women in the legislature.

So where's that morning after headline? “2007: New Jersey’s Year of the Women”.

Even in the midst of covering the state’s most hotly contested legislative race in its own backyard, the Asbury Park Press thought it was important enough to cover.

Note: For more information: See CAWP release: “New Jersey Elects Record Number of Women", 11/7/07, www.cawp.rutgers.edu. Jersey Girls