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CORAY SEES LITTLE BENEFIT FROM GENDER

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Two years after the "year of the woman" in politics, Democrat Bobbie Coray says being a woman U.S. House candidate is no longer a novelty.

"I find that you don't really get any special attention for being a woman," she said after making a fund-raising tour this week among Washington political groups.Coray, who faces Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah, said, "It would have been easier to run during the `year of the woman.' " That's when many groups were pouring in money to push for more women in Congress in the wake of the Clarence Thomas-Anita Hill hearings they said showed male insensitivity.

"The novelty has somewhat worn off," said Coray, economic development director for Cache County. "The big issues are not traditional women's issues. The big issue is jobs. There is no special advantage in being a woman, just in how you address the issue."

She said candidates seeking money from Washington groups must show they have a realistic hope of winning by already raising large amounts in their states and producing poll numbers indicating they are within striking distance.

"I don't think being a woman brings me any more or less money. What has been important, though, is that I have raised a lot of money - and that has brought support from a lot of groups," she said.

Early disclosure forms showed she had raised more this year than Hansen. That is unusual for a newcomer facing an incumbent.

Coray says one remnant of the "year of the woman" is making her political life easier, however: more women's political groups exist.

"For example, the Women's Campaign Fund has almost been like my Washington staff. They have lined up meetings for me here and saved me a lot of time and money," she said.

Such women's groups also donate a lot of money, even if it may not be as much as in the year. Most donate only to women who are pro-choice on abortion - which Coray is.