As crass it may sound, for most of our nation's history, the single most direct route to the United States Senate for a woman was through the cemetery. With the exception of Margaret Chase Smith, the ten women who served in the Senate prior to the 1978 election of Nancy Kassenbaum arrived there by virtue of the death of their husbands.
Oregon's Maurine Neuberger was no different. Her husband, Richard L. Neuberger was the first Democrat elected to the Senate from Oregon in 40 years when he took the seat in 1954. His sudden death in March 1960, just days before he planned to file for re-election, left Oregon Democrats in a quandary. Most realized that Maurine Neuberger would be a formidable, perhaps unbeatable candidate, but would she run?
|1960 Bumper Sticker|