Ferraro Quits Italian Coalition Over 'Sexist' Support for Man

Associated Press

Geraldine A. Ferraro has split with the Coalition of Italo-American Assns. over what she called a sexist endorsement by the group in November's elections.

The New York Daily News reported today that Ferraro, the unsuccessful 1984 Democratic candidate for vice president, resigned from the group because she was angry that the coalition backed incumbent Rep. Joseph DioGuardi over Democratic challenger Bella Abzug.

"How dare you use the mailing list and stationery to endorse Joe DioGuardi," she wrote to the group's president, William Fugazy, in a letter obtained by the News.

"Obviously, the fact that he had a highly 'qualified, competent and effective legislator' who happened to be a female, and Bella Abzug to boot, running against him moved you to act. I don't want anyone to think I endorse the sexist actions of your organization."

Abzug represented a congressional district in New York City during the 1970s. Her failed bid for a congressional seat representing suburban Westchester County was seen as an attempt to make a political comeback.

The News also quoted a letter in which Fugazy responded to Ferraro's charges:

"I'm sorry you've chosen to assume that we were sexist in choosing a qualified Italian-American male as opposed to a qualified non-Italian-American female. We obviously don't agree, but please consider putting these differences aside for the long-range goal of advancing Italian-Americans, both men and women."

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