This Date in History — Christine Todd Whitman Elected Governor
New Jersey elected its first female governor, Christine Todd Whitman, on November 3rd, 1993.
She grew up in Oldwick and served as a Somerset County freeholder. She’s a Republican who, in 1990, lost a bid for the US Senate against popular incumbent Bill Bradley, but the vote was surprisingly close and obviously raised her political profile in the state. In 1993, she ran for governor against Democrat Jim Florio; she upset the incumbent winning by one percentage point.
According to Wikipedia, she won with a plurality, but not a majority of the votes. As her star continued to rise, she was selected to give the Republican response to President Clinton’s State of the Union Address in 1995. She won reelection in 1997, again by 1% and, again with a plurality, this time over Democrat Jim McGreevey. She didn’t serve her full second term, however, as she was picked by President George Bush to be the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency famously telling New Yorkers after 9/11 that the air was safe to breathe; she left the EPA in 2003. She has not sought elective office since.