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WENDELL - NORTHWESTERN INC. - MPLS MINN.
The 1960 Maine Senate election was historic; it was the first time in Senate history, both major party candidates were women. Smith vs. Cormier, 1960 was between popular Republican incumbent Margaret Chase Smith and Democratic contender Lucia Cormier. Smith had been elected in 1948, again in 1954, and seeking her third term in 1960. That year Maine’s junior senator, Edmund Muskie, in a surprise twist, supported the opposing candidate.
Cormier was a successful businesswoman and veteran state representative. She became Democratic floor leader in Maine’s state house of representatives in 1959. The historic Senate contest gained national attention when Senator Muskiee escorted Cormier to the Senate Chamber, introduced her as “the next senator from Maine.” He urged her to take a seat at one of the historic desks. Smith complained it was a breach of Senate etiquette, and media frenzy began.
Despite their accomplishments, the press frequently derided their qualifications. They were pitted against each other as the “Widow v. Spinster.” However, the two women who had worked together for years were determined to take it seriously. Referred to as the “Petticoat Race,” Margaret Chase Smith won the election by 62 percent.
U.S. Senate: Smith vs. Cormier, 1960. (n.d.) Smith vs. Cormier, 1960. Retrieved from https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/minute/Smith_vs_Cormier.htm....