When 2007 began, women held just 23 of the 120 seats in the New Jersey Legislature. That’s only 7 women in the Senate out of 40, and only 16 Assemblywomen out of 80. Of those 23 female legislators, 16 were Democrats, including 5 of the 7 Senators.
What a difference a
day week year can make. Turns out, my predictions last week kinda sorta came true, with the recent unpleasantness producing two brand new Assemblywomen, Elease Evans (LD-35) and Mila Jasey (LD-27), and a very likely winner this fall added to the 38th District ballot, Connie Wagner.
Add them to primary winners earlier this year – likely future Senators Dana Redd (LD-5), Teresa Ruiz (LD-29), and Sandra Cunningham (LD-31); and likely future Assemblywomen Cleopatra Tucker (LD-28), Grace Spencer (LD-29) and Caridad Rodriguez (LD-33), and suddenly, the Legislature is starting to feel a little more estrogenated. Without a single upset in November, we’re already looking at a record 10 women in the Senate (8 of them Democrats), and a record 21 women in the Assembly (16 of them Democrats).
That’s right – there will be more Democratic women in the legislature next year than there are women total there now. Historic, yes. But, still nowhere near where we ought to be.
Of course, there’s still more story to tell, because it wouldn’t be election season if there weren’t a cool upset or two brewing. With a record number of women challenging Republicans all over the state, how many more women do you think can land in the legislature next year?
*Take the poll* on the flip (and share the reasons for your votes in the comments):