“Keystone State voters have never elected a female governor or sent a woman to the U.S. Senate (it’s one of 13 states to hold such a distinction),” National Journal reports. “Yet this year, Democrats have fielded two marquee female gubernatorial candidates well-positioned to break the streak: Rep. Allyson Schwartz and Katie McGinty, a top environmental official in former Gov. Ed Rendell’s Cabinet.”
So far, being a woman has been an unbreachable barrier to major statewide office in Pennsylvania. But Schwartz and McGinty might find that, in 2014, their gender is a major asset—in both a primary and general election. Democratic primary voters are thirsty to make history, while moderates casting votes in November appear eager for a fresh start to succeed a governor with whom most have grown frustrated. In Pennsylvania and elsewhere this year, voters could turn to women to fix a political system they consider dysfunctional and broken.
The last time a woman came close to winning a top statewide office—Kathleen Kane’s claim of the attorney general’s office apparently doesn’t count—was in 1992, when Democrat Lynn Yeakel lost to Sen. Arlen Specter.