Friday, June 06, 2008

Trivia Answer

Trivia Answer

Desmoinesdem asked me a question in the Iowa Independent comments, and got me curious: Is Miller-Meeks the Iowa GOP's first female congressional nominee? The short answer is no.

I have a large book of ancient election returns, The Congressional Quarterly Guide to U.S. Elections, a library discard that I picked up at a Goodwill for five bucks. It only runs through 1992 but I pretty much remember everything after that or at least know where to look. This volume fuels a lot of my history/trivia stories, such as helping explain that the reason Wyoming makes its governor appoint a senator from the same party as the deceased is that in 1960 a governor appointed himself.

So I dug through Iowa U.S. House returns from 1916 (the year Montana's Jeanette Rankin became the first Congresswoman) through 1992. Didn't take as long as it sounds; just one cup of coffee. There are a couple candidates with only initials, and a Francis in the 50s, in a generation when that spelling was usually male. (Or, as Bill Murray Sergeant Hulka -- how could I be so stupid -- said in "Stripes," "Lighten up, Francis.") We all know names can be androgynous; Johnny Cash sang a pretty good song about it.

Former state senator Johnie Hammond was unavailable for comment.

The Democrats have had several contenders: Lynne Cutler, Elaine Baxter, and Julie Thomas all came close, and more recently there was Joyce Schulte, and now Becky Greenwald, on the House side. And Jean Lloyd-Jones ran for U.S. Senate in `92. But the first definite Iowa female congressional nominee appears to be Republican Sonja Egenes, who lost a landslide to Neal Smith in 1962. Joanne Soper lost to Berkley Bedell in 1976. So if M M-M hangs on through a recount, she's only the third Republican, and the first in 32 years.

If Johnson County is any indication, M M-M's numbers in that 109-vote margin over Teahen won't move much. They counted two provisional ballots and one late-arriving overseas ballot yesterday -- all Democrats. So no change in the Republican races from the election night numbers.

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