Independence Day ClosureStamps Health Services will be closed on Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day. The office will reopen viagra venta online on Monday, July 6 at 8:00 a.

After Trump victory, more women running for office in New Jersey

On a warm summer day, about a dozen women huddled in a dimly-lit conference room, intent on an unlikely task: Learning how to ask complete strangers for money.

The women – part of a candidate training "boot camp" — role-played cold calls, perfecting their pitch for donations and endorsements for their campaigns. For most, it was a new experience: An accomplished group that included a technology banking executive, an art history professor, a former farm owner and a lawyer, none had ever held elected office before.

Many said the thought of running never crossed their mind – until, that is, Donald Trump was elected president.

"Certainly, the outcome of the 2016 election was disturbing, to say the least," said Linda Weber, an attendee who is vying to unseat 7th Congressional District Rep. Leonard Lance, a Republican, in next year's midterm elections. "It's a cliché to say that people are running because of the results of Nov. 8, but it certainly was a catalyst."

She isn't alone.

In New Jersey, a record 78 women – 47 Democrats and 31 Republicans – are running for state legislative office this November, when all 120 seats in the Senate and Assembly are up for election. (These figures don't include those running on third-party tickets.)

On the federal level, there is Weber but also Mikie Sherrill, a Montclair resident and former federal prosecutor who is running against Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen in the 11th congressional district to "fight back against Donald Trump and to fight for our future," according to her campaign website.

And experts say interest in programs that train women to run for elected office has skyrocketed since the presidential election, a possible sign that more women could be vying for political office in the future.

"Women woke up and felt like they needed to do something," said Truscha Quatrone, director of Emerge New Jersey, a chapter of a national organization geared toward training Democratic women on how to run for public office.

The group, which has been around for five years, runs a six-month course once a year. An average of 30 women typically apply each year, Quatrone said.

But after Trump was elected, she said, "That jumped up to 120 overnight."

Trump effect 

Many of the newcomer candidates may have always felt that change was needed but would have taken longer to do something if it weren't for Trump, said Montclair State University political professor Brigid Harrison.

"When we look at the larger context, some of Trump's divisive language during the campaign touched a nerve and served to mobilize many women to run for office. There's no doubt about it," Harrison said. "People may have been political from their couch but I think there was something compelling about Trump that motivated many women to stand up and say, 'I need to do something about this.'"

Another 2016 win, that of Democrat Josh Gottheimer, who beat out Republican Scott Garrett in the historically red-leaning 5th congressional district, also sparked energy among the Democratic Party in the overlapping 39th state legislative district, which encompasses northern Bergen County.

Enough energy that Annie Hausmann, a political newcomer from Norwood who volunteered for Gottheimer's campaign and swore off public office as something she would never do, decided to run for Assembly. She's on an all-female ticket with Closter Councilwoman Jannie Chung, also running for Assembly, and Oakland Mayor Linda Schwager, who's running for state Senate.

The three are facing off against incumbent GOP Assembly members Holly Schepisi and Robert Auth, and Sen. Gerald Cardinale, who has been elected nearly a dozen times. The district has not sent a Democratic representative to Trenton since the 1970s.

"I think it's very important for women to be represented in our state house, now more so than ever," Hausmann said in a phone interview. She said Trump's win was "devastating" to her but Gottheimer's success inspired her.

It was the Women's March in Washington, D.C., after Trump's inauguration that was the final push for her to decide to run.

"I looked around and thought, 'This isn't enough,'" said Hausmann.

A Q&A with first-time political candidates Kate Matteson and Gina Trist, who are running for Assembly in the 24th legislative district. Catherine Carrera/

Democratic newcomers Kate Matteson and Gina Trish also face a challenge, running for Assembly in the 24th legislative district, one of the reddest districts in the state. About 40 percent of voters are registered Republican, another 40 percent are unaffiliated and 20 percent are Democrats.

The last time the district – which includes Morris, Sussex and Warren counties – elected a Democratic representative was in 1974. Incumbent Republican Assemblyman Parker Space has come under fire recently for making obscene comments about his opponents and posing with a Confederate flag.

As newcomers, Trish and Matteson say they lean on fellow women who are running for support.

"Being involved with other women candidates who are running is really exciting. We always learn from other candidates," said Matteson, a former farm owner who also worked in the executive search industry. "We bring a lot to the table as women candidates – a lot of compassion."

Compassion and a well-informed voice, according to Melissa Rubenstein, a Democrat running for Wyckoff Township Committee. Another red bastion — nearly 40 percent of registered voters are Republican, while 19 percent are Democrats — Rubenstein said she is running to represent women in her town, who are heavily involved in local clubs and parent teacher organizations.

"There are a lot of things we run in town but we're not part of the government," Rubeinstein said. "When it comes down to it, if you want women's issues to be represented, including what moms talk about on the playgrounds, you have to run."

Year of the Women 2? 

Perhaps the last time a political event was the catalyst for an increase in women running for government was in 1992, said Kelly Dittmar, a scholar at Rutgers University's Center for American Women in Politics.

"1992 was called 'The Year of the Women' because of the surge of new women in Congress," Dittmar said.

Among the reasons women candidates were successful that year were redistricting and the fallout from the Clarence Thomas hearings. Thomas, who was nominated for the U.S. Supreme Court, was accused by Anita Hill, a law professor who worked with him, of sexual harassment. Hill was then grilled by an all-white, all-male Senate Judiciary Committee.

The event showed the country "very vividly, the dearth of women in Congress," Dittmar said.

Put Yourself On The Ballot

Learn about the Emerge program, how to apply and get connected to our Council of Allies

Support Our Work

Emerge New Jersey needs your help to expand our training.