The Leg Up

Kerry Howley has a column on the role of husbands in getting their wives elected to office, with focus on the Cattle Baroness. Now, no doubt she’s a capable senator, but, as was once said of the Fat Rich Kid, if her name was Hillary Rodham instead of Hillary Clinton, would you vote for her?

Howley’s column induced me to come up with a list of women who succeeded a family member in Congress (state and Congress follow name):

Elizabeth Andrews (AL), 92nd
Jean Ashbrook (OH), 97th
Irene Baker (TN), 88th
Corrine Boggs (LA), 93rd
Veronica Boland (PA), 77th
Frances Bolton (OH), 76th
Mary Bono (CA), 105th
Vera Buchanan (PA), 82nd
Jocelyn Burdick (ND), 102nd
Sala Burton (CA), 98th
Katharine Byron (MD), 77th
Lois Capps (CA), 105th
Hattie Caraway (AR), 72nd
Jean Carnahan (MO), 107th
Marguerite Church (IL), 82nd
Cardiss Collins (IL), 93rd
Elaine Edwards (LA), 92nd
Jo Ann Emerson (MO), 104th
Willa McCord Blake Esick (TN), 72th
Willa Fulmer (SC), 78th
Elizabeth Gasque (SC), 75th
Florence Gibbs (GA), 76th
Kathryn Granahan (PA), 84th
Winnifred Mason Huck (IL), 67th
Muriel Humphrey (MN), 95th
Florence Kahn (CA), 68th
Elizabeth Kee (WV), 82nd
Rose Long (LA), 74th
Catherine Long (LA), 99th
Doris Matsui (CA), 109th
Clara McMillan (SC), 76th
Susan Molinari (NY), 101st
Lisa Murkowski (AK), 107th
Maurine Neuberger (OR), 86th
Mae Nolan (CA), 67th
Catherine Norrell (AR), 87th
Pearl Oldfield (AR), 70th
Shirley Pettis (CA), 94th
Louise Reese (TN), 87th
Corrine Riley (SC), 87th
Edith Rogers (MA), 69th
Margaret Chase Smith (ME), 76th
Lera Thomas (TX), 89th
Effigene Wingo (AR), 71st

A note: Susan Molinari succeeded her father, Guy Molinari and Lisa Murkowski succeeded her father Frank Murkowski. Elizabeth Kee succeeded her husband, served six full terms and was succeeded by her son.

When Howley says, “The first three women to serve full Senate terms all succeeded their husbands,” it’s not quite accurate. The three women would be Hattie Caraway, Margaret Chase Smith and Maurine Neuberger. However, Smith succeeded her husband to his House seat and was elected to four terms on her own before moving to the Senate in the 81st Congress and serving four full terms there.

While most of the women on the list were seat warmers, just filling out the terms of their husbands, some had distinguished careers on their own. Edith Rogers, who succeeded her husband John Rogers in 1925, was elected sixteen times to Congress, dying in 1960 during the campaign for a seventeenth term. Mary Norton was elected to twelve full terms and became chair of the House Labor Committee.

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