• U.S.

Score Another for Anita Hill

2 minute read

IN A YEAR WHEN AMERICANS ARE KEEN TO THROW the insiders out and vote the outsiders in, women candidates continue to find uncommon success at the ballot box. Last week Pennsylvania Democrats tapped Lynn Yeakel, 50, a Main Line matron with no experience in elected office, to run against Republican Senator Arlen Specter in November. Yeakel, who founded Women’s Way, a coalition of charities that raised nearly $2 million last year for a variety of women’s causes, jumped into the race after watching the all-male Senate Judiciary Committee grill Anita Hill. “I looked at those 14 men,” she said, “and I thought, These are not the people I want running my life and my children’s and grandchildren’s lives.”

Yeakel, who has said she wants to make the fall campaign in part a referendum on Specter’s memorably merciless questioning of Hill, joins Illinois Senate hopeful Carol Moseley Braun at the top of a growing list of women who are riding the perception that women will prove to be natural reformers of a broken-down system that has kept them at arms’ length. Daughter of an 11-term Congressman, Yeakel did not run a shoestring campaign; she spent about $200,000 of her own money.

In another low-turnout presidential primary, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton won 57% of the vote to former California Governor Jerry Brown’s 26%. Clinton’s win means that he now has three-fourths of the delegates he needs to secure the nomination. George Bush beat Patrick Buchanan by 77% to 23%, and though the victory still left the President a few delegates shy of clinching the + G.O.P. nomination, he seized it nonetheless. “It’s wonderful,” he said, “to be officially over the top.”

Clinton’s aides took heart from exit polls showing that 61% of Democrats believed that he had the honesty and integrity to be President. But the much touted survey was of Democrats only; a far more telling gauge of the public mood — sobering for both Clinton and Bush — was polls showing that Texas billionaire Ross Perot is running neck and neck with Bush and ahead of Clinton in California, Texas and New Mexico, which together are worth one-third of the electoral votes required to win the presidency.

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