Running in Heels
Attention, political junkies: 2012 is a record year for female candidates. Meet the women to watch (and vote for) this campaign season.
By Roberta Bernstein, Ashley Ross, and Lauren N. Williams
LINDA MCMAHON, 63 (Pictured)
PERSONAL STORY: Met husband Vince McMahon when she was 13the two eventually married and built the powerhouse multimillion-dollar empire that is now World Wrestling Entertainment (starring The Rock, CM Punk, etc.). Has two adult children and six grandchildren.
RÉSUMÉ HIGHLIGHT: Spent $50 million of her own money in a losing 2010 Senate run.
TOP ISSUES: Creating jobs, which she says she's uniquely qualified to do as a business mogul. "I want to make sure future generations have the opportunity to pursue their goals."
IN HER BAG: IPad, BlackBerry, lipstick, photos of her grandchildren.
TAMMY DUCKWORTH, 44
U.S. CONGRESS, 8TH DISTRICT
PERSONAL STORY: Iraq War vet; lost both legs after her Black Hawk was shot down. Appointed assistant secretary in the Depart-ment of Veterans Affairs by President Obama in 2009. "I still get asked if women should be allowed to hold combat jobs!" she says. "I didn't lose my legs in a bar fight." Married.
CAMPAIGN FLAP: Her opponent, Representative Joe Walsh, said, "All she does is talk about [her service]. Our true heroes ... they don't throw it in your face." Her rebuttal: "He's just trying to distract people from his failures."
TOP ISSUES: The budget deficit and economic opportunity. Biggest issue facing women: lack of true equality in many fields.
IN HER BAG: "I have a fabulous vintage hot-pink purse I got for $10. It fits my speech-es, netbook, Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in Rhubarb, and Sephora Minimergency Kit."
TAMMY BALDWIN, 50
PERSONAL STORY: Raised by her grand-parents when her young mother became addicted to prescription drugs after going through a divorce. Lawyer. Single, no kids.
HISTORY WATCH: First out lesbian elected to Congress in 1998, and first woman from Wisconsin. If she wins, would be the first openly gay senator in U.S. history.
TOP ISSUES: Health care, Medicare, Social Security.
IN HER BAG: "Only the essentials. I keep my purse small so my male staff aren't embarrassed if they have to hold it for me."
MIA LOVE, 37
U.S. CONGRESS, 4TH DISTRICT
PERSONAL STORY: African-American Mormon, ultraconservative small-town mayor, and rising Republican star. Daughter of Haitian-American immigrants who told their daughter to give back to society. Married, mother of three.
RÉSUMÉ HIGHLIGHTS: Worked as a flight attendant and businesswoman. Became mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah, in 2010.
TOP ISSUES: Revamping entitlement programs such as Social Security, plus federal debt and tax reform. She says biggest problems facing women are making their political voices heard as well as juggling kids and work.
SOUND BITE: Via Twitter: "I'd vote for a shoe over our current president."
VAL DEMINGS, 55
U.S. CONGRESS, 10TH DISTRICT
PERSONAL STORY: Mom was a maid, dad was a janitor. After college, became a cop and eventually Orlando's first female police chief. Married, mother of three.
TOP ISSUE: The economy. "Too many in Congress have focused on everything but jobs."
CRAZY CAMPAIGN MOMENT: Getting 700 Facebook friend requests in a day after announcing candidacy. "I thought, Wow, I'm really doing this with a little help from my friends!"
IN HER BAG: "I carry a 9-millimeter gun in my Dooney & Bourke that was a gift when I retired from the police department."