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Women Protesting the Dissolution of Abzug's 19th Congressional District

Women Protesting the Dissolution of Abzug's 19th Congressional District
The backlash against Abzug almost cost her the Congressional seat in 1972. This excerpt from a 1973 Ms. Magazine article by Judith Nies discusses Abzug's bitter reelection battle:

"The full story involved the dismantling of Congresswoman Abzug's district, her losing primary fight against Congressman William Fitts Ryan [in the new 20th Congressional District]...the death of Ryan from cancer 12 weeks after the primary, the selection of Abzug as the new candidate...[and] the decision of Ryan's widow to run against Abzug on the Liberal ticket...

"Since it is widely assumed that the only acceptable way for women political candidates to win is to dislodge reactionaries, some said Bella Abzug had no moral right to run against a man who was as well liked and as 'good on the issues' as Bill Ryan....

"[However] women have a responsibility to extend their role in the political process to the actual assumption of political power. To do so means winning elections. Candidates must enter primaries and let the voters choose. Period....

"The real lesson in the Abzug-Ryan race is that women who are effective cause great disruption in the fraternal order of political business; and this order includes many of the traditional allies of women the liberal press, liberal politicians, and radical intellectuals. [But] women should run for office and they should run to win, where they can win, despite the opposition that they will face from their "friends" as well as their traditional enemies."

1. Quote from Judith Nies, "The Abzug Campaign," Ms. Feb. 1973: 76, 112.

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Women Protesting the Dissolution of Abzug's 19th Congressional District." (Viewed on February 12, 2016) <>.


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