Pennsylvania -- A league of their own (they being "men")
Meant to link to this earlier -- my Daily News cover story on how come 2010 is another "Year of the Woman" in American poltics, but not in Pennsylvania, of course. Why? Good question: Pennsylvania voters are certainly capable of voting for a woman -- remember Hillary Clinton in 2008? -- but they don't often get the opportunity, as evidenced by this year's all-male governor's races. A lot of it is probably what you think it is -- cultural conservatism and an older population, the control of old-school party bosses, and Pennsylvania's backwards election laws, such as the closed primary.
Meanwhle, Pennsylvania shall be known by the company it keeps:
Pennsylvania has never had a female governor nor a woman in the U.S. Senate, and only two of 19 current House members are women, below the average for the other states. And there's never been a female mayor of Philadelphia.
The Center for Women and American Politics at Rutgers University ranks Pennsylvania 45th in percentage of female state lawmakers. The only states with a worse rating are, in order, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.
But even in South Carolina a woman, state lawmaker Nikki Haley, is the front-runner in the governor's race despite having to fight back allegations - which she strongly denied - of adultery as well as slurs on her Sikh heritage.
You've come a long way, baby -- but you're still going to have to swim the rough currents of the Delaware.