Politics & Government

Women are all over North Carolina ballots

RALEIGH, N.C. _ From Sarah Palin, a hockey mom and Alaska governor, to a Franklin County judicial candidate who rolled out pink campaign signs, women appear all over the Tar Heel ballot this year.

In Durham, four of five candidates for county commissioner are women. In Wake County, five women are running for the state legislature. Statewide, three women are running for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Both U.S. Senate candidates are women, and Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue wants to be governor. If things work out a certain way, the majority of the Council of State -- a 10-member group of statewide elected officials -- could arrive at work in heels.

"It's amazing, isn't it?" said Barbara True-Weber, a political scientist at Meredith College. "We are now at a point where the pool of women who are experienced and eligible is deep enough and wide enough that they're eligible for those senior positions."

The trend in North Carolina reflects an upswing in women's roles in politics nationally. Women have been at the center of the presidential contest this year, first with Sen. Hillary Clinton and now with Palin, whom Republicans see as the key to claiming women's votes. Women are now a majority of registered voters in North Carolina, and some strategists say female candidates bring out female voters.

In a year when change is the mantra, the possibility of more women in office could usher in new ideas and new styles of leadership.

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