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WASHINGTON INSIGHT

From The Times' Washington staff

NEW INSPIRATION: The odds are long, but the possibility that California might send two women to the U.S. Senate next year has quickened pulses at the National Women’s Political Caucus, a bipartisan group that has been trying since 1971 to elect progressive women to public office. Harriett Woods, new president of the NWPC, says recent trends should aid the Senate campaigns of Rep. Barbara Boxer (D-Greenbrae) and former San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein in 1992. “A shift to a domestic agenda helps women, who are seen more as down-to-earth problem-solvers,” Woods said. “And a woman will be seen as an ‘outsider’ sending a message to Washington.” The 100-member Senate now has two women--Kansas Republican Nancy Landon Kassebaum and Democrat Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland. Woods, a former state legislator from Missouri, says women’s anger over the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings into Anita Faye Hill’s charges of sexual harassment against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has led to a sharp rise in their political contributions. Boxer alone, she added, already has received $72,000 from a special fund-raising drive among women. Nationally, there are 100 women in the running for congressional seats or statewide office, Woods said, adding: “The real question is how many will win.”


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