Women still have yet to run many statehouses, but in 2014 two Texas Democrats are going for a new kind of history: Winning as an all-female ticket for governor and lieutenant governor.
If Wendy Davis and fellow state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, a Latina pharmacist whose maiden name is San Miguel, prevail in the March primaries as expected, they’ll form what political experts say is only the fifth time in at least the past 20 years that a party has nominated women for both governor and lieutenant governor.
Of the candidates running for the top two slots on the statewide ticket in 2014, Van de Putte is the only hopeful who is a native Spanish speaker, according to the Texas Tribune, which reported that in her announcement speech back in November the Tacoma, Wash.-born switched gracefully between English and Spanish.
“They’ll say that little ol’ Leticia Rosa San Miguel Van de Putte from the barrio will never become lieutenant governor,” Van de Putte said in English, as quoted by the paper, adding that “the GOP can’t fight for the Hispanic vote without fighting for Hispanic families.”
The last all-female governor and lieutenant governor ticket was steamrolled in November by New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie on his easy path to re-election. That pair came away some advice for their Texas cohorts.
“Expect to be marginalized. Just be ready for it,” said New Jersey Democratic state Sen. Barbara Buono, who lost to Christie by 22 points.
Not all nominees run as “tickets” in the traditional sense. Texas is among the states that elect a governor and lieutenant governor separately, meaning that Davis and Van de Putte don’t come as a package even though they’ll overlap in message.
That message hasn’t focused on gender. Davis talks about education and weeding out cronyism while trying to forge a broader identity among voters who might only know her from her stand in pink running shoes on the Texas Senate floor for reproductive rights.
But Davis and Van de Putte can’t escape their obvious contrast…
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