NEW YORK (Nov. 7)
Madeleine Kunin, the Democratic candidate in Vermont, Wednesday became the state’s first Jewish woman Governor, defeating State Attorney General John Easton Jr., a Republican. With 100 percent of the votes tallied, Kunin had 116,575 or 50.8 percent to Easton’s 112,883 or 49.0 percent. Easton has conceded defeat.
Kunin is from a family of European emigrants that fled the Nazis in 1940 for the United States. The Swissborn Kunin became a U.S. citizen in 1947. In 1972, she was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives. She served three terms. She was also Vermont’s Lt. Gov. for two terms between 1978 to 1982.
Kunin, 51, lost a race for Governor two years ago to Richard Snelling, who is retiring. Significantly, she has in the past weeks gained the endorsement of many of the state’s leading newspapers, including the traditionally Republican Burlington Free Press. There are about 2,500 Jews in Vermont, out of a state population estimated at 516,000.
Kunin had campaigned against Easton mainly stressing the themes of experience and improving educational opportunties. Easton, 41, stressed the issues of law-and-order throughout the campaign. Kunin becomes only the second women governor in the U.S. and is only the third Democrat, to hold the office in Vermont in 130 years.
In Missouri, meanwhile, Democratic State Senator Harriet Woods became the first woman elected to be Lt. Governor, defeating Republican Mel Hancock.
Woods, who is Jewish, gained national prominence when she staged an unsuccessful bid to oust U.S. Senator John Danforth two years ago. With nearly 80 percent of the vote counted, Woods has 932,414 or 54 percent, to Hancock’s 793,349, or 46 percent.
Democrat Lt. Gov. Kenneth Rothman, meanwhile, was defeated by Attorney General John Ashcroft, a Republican, in a fight to succeed retiring Republican Governor Christopher Bond. With about 80 percent of the vote counted, the latest available figures show that Ashcroft had 993,894 or 57 percent to Rothman’s 760,133 or 43 percent.