Women haven't fared well in races for elective office in Utah.
Yes, there have been some female mayors of medium-size Utah towns. But no female serves as a full-time mayor of a large city today.To the best of anyone's knowledge, no woman has ever served as speaker of the Utah House or president of the Senate, although women serve in both bodies.
There's never been a woman governor or female U.S. senator. There have been several female U.S. House members from Utah but none in the last 30 years.
Men currently hold every state elective office - governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and auditor.
The only woman in legislative leadership, Republican and Democrat, is House Assistant Majority Whip Christine Fox, R-Lehi.
One member of the five-member Utah Supreme Court, Justice Christine Durham, is female. Although retained through election, she and all other judges are originally appointed, however, by the governor.
Of the 200-plus cities and towns in Utah, only 15 towns have female mayors, none of the positions are full-time: Carole Scott, Manila; Marie Huff, Spanish Fork; Elaine Barnes, Alpine; Delaine Tidwell, Altamont; Julee Lyman, Boulder; Beverly Cannon, Circleville; RoJean Addley, Duchesne; Lorna Stapley, Koosharem; Phyllis Turman, Minersville; Patricia Braegger, Providence; Kathleen Browning, Roy City; Delora Bertelsen, Springville; Janet Hansen, Torrey; Sue Chritchlow, Wellington; and Ruth Maughan, Wellsville.
In recent years, Utahns have turned down the opportunity to elect a woman to the U.S. House. Former Salt Lake Councilwoman Alice Shearer was defeated for the GOP 2nd District nomination in 1984 by then-Lt. Gov. David Monson.
Last year, Genevieve Atwood won the Republican Party's 2nd District nomination by beating Dan Marriott. But Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, dispatched her relatively easily in the final election.
This year, Salt Lake residents will get the chance to elect their first female mayor ever. Deedee Corradini, a local businesswoman, did well on the latest Deseret News/KSL-TV poll and is considered a viable contender.
She'll be opposed, however, by probably three or four male candidates who also are well-qualified.
Atwood may run again in the 2nd District, but all 1992 congressional candidates are holding their breath now, waiting to see how the Republican-controlled Legislature reapportions congressional and legislative districts later this year.
Meanwhile, gubernatorial hopefuls - to the best of my knowledge, all males - are considering who their lieutenant governor running mates might be. And some are considering a woman.
This is kind of a game candidates for governor play, I believe.
In 1988, Ted Wilson "seriously considered" a female running mate. One or two women appeared on his short list of candidates. But in the end he picked a man, South Salt Lake Mayor Jim Davis.
In 1984, several gubernatorial candidates considered women as running mates. Karl Snow actually picked Belva Ashton the day of the state GOP convention and announced her as his running mate during his convention speech. But Snow failed to get the nomination, and before the day was out he decided to be Dan Marriott's lieutenant governor running mate himself.
"Utah has never had a woman lieutenant governor," U.S. Rep. Jim Hansen recently told the Deseret News editorial board. "I'm seriously considering a woman (on his ticket) should I run (for governor)."
But Hansen wonders, as do all male gubernatorial candidates, if Utah is ready for a woman on the ticket, whether having a female running mate would be a political asset or liability.
Of course, that depends on the woman candidate. Conventional wisdom says a woman on a Republican ticket would probably help more than a woman on a Democratic ticket. After all, if a conservative Republican male or female didn't like having a woman on the ticket, what are they going to do, vote for the Democratic ticket? Not likely.
On the other hand, a woman on the Democratic ticket could drive conservative or biased voters to the Republican ballot.
It will be interesting to see if a woman can break through in Salt Lake City this year or in a federal or state race in 1992.