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The Reaction to the First Female Nomination for VP Lynn Sherr and others discuss the enthusiastic reaction to Ferraro’s nomination. In the summer of 1984, Democratic nominee for president Walter Mondale trailed President Ronald Reagan by up to 19 percent in the polls, and needed a game changer. Enter Rep. Geraldine Ferraro, the daughter of a nightclub owner and a former elementary school teacher who had attended law school at night and raised her children before becoming a tough prosecutor and formidable Congresswoman from Queens.
The selection of Ferraro as the first woman on a major party U.S. presidential ticket transformed Mondale’s lagging campaign into a historic venture. And a week later at the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco Ferraro dazzled the party faithful with a powerful address. She helped Mondale pull even with Reagan in the polls after the convention but it did not last. Despite a solid debate performance against Vice President George H.W. Bush and her ability to rally progressives and women voters, Ferraro was dogged by questions about her experience and her husband’s financial holdings, and ultimately the Mondale-Ferraro ticket lost all but one state in one of the most lopsided contests in U.S. history. Nonetheless, Ferraro’s candidacy would have a lasting impact on numerous women seeking public office in the U.S. in the past few decades.
Ferraro would later lose her bid for a U.S. Senate seat in 1998, but serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Prior to her death from cancer in 2011, shows a consultant, lobbyist and Fox News analyst.