Presidential candidates, part III


Presidential candidates, part III


Presidential Candidates Part III: post-19th Amendment Senator Margaret Chase Smith of Maine was the first woman to run for President on a major party ticket. In 1964 she challenged Barry Goldwater for the Republican nomination. Neither of them would unseat Lyndon B. Johnson. 🧵

She was born in Maine in 1897, with no right to vote. In 1917, Maine women lost a statewide suffrage referendum by a 2:1 margin. In 1919 the state legislature passed a bill to give women a vote in Presidential elections. It was superseded by the 19th Amendment.

Why'd she run? “When people keep telling you you can't do a thing, you kind of like to try.” She didn’t win any primaries, but got 25% of the vote in Illinois. At the RNC convention that summer she refused to remove her name from contention, denying Goldwater unanimous consent.

She was the 1st woman elected to the Senate in her own right, and the 1st woman to serve in both houses of Congress. Elected to her husband’s House seat in 1940, she served on the House Naval Affairs Committee during WWII. She championed women in the military, especially WAVES.

Chase Smith was the first Senator to criticize Joe McCarthy at the height of his witch hunts. While initially willing to believe his claims about Communists infiltrating the US, when he failed to produce any evidence, she spoke up.McCarthy yanked her seat on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and gave it to Senator Richard Nixon of California. Unlike a current Senator from Maine, Sen. Chase Smith opposed Supreme Court nominees with dubious qualifications, voting against 2 of Pres. Nixon's picks.

She supported Medicare, the modern Civil Rights Acts, the Voting Rights Act, and the confirmation of Justice Thurgood Marshall. The only woman to chair the Senate Republican Conference, she didn’t miss a vote in the Senate for more than 30 years. Tomorrow: Unbought & unbossed. 


Daily Suffragist






Daily Suffragist, “Presidential candidates, part III,” Daily Suffragist, accessed June 24, 2024,

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