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Smith ran for president in 1964

In my column of Nov. 5, I made a misstatement that I would like to correct.

Since then my research has revealed that on Jan. 27, 1964, Republican Sen. Margaret Chase Smith of Maine announced her candidacy for the presidency. That July she became the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the presidency at a major political party's national convention. She placed second to Barry Goldwater, who later was defeated by President Lyndon Johnson in the November election.

Despite this defeat, Sen. Smith continued to represent Maine with significant distinction. Her streak of eight successive terms ended in 1972 when she was defeated for re-election. She served four terms in the Senate and 32 years in the House prior to her defeat and became the first member of the Senate to denounce tactics used by Joseph McCarthy in his anti-Communist crusade in 1950.

Pundits speculated that she would be a good vice presidential candidate in 1952 for the Republicans, but this never came about. However, in 1964 she ran in some Republican presidential primaries and ultimately became the first woman to have her name placed in nomination for the presidency by either of the major parties.

She was the first woman elected to both houses of Congress. She was born in 1897 and died in 1995.

In my column of Nov. 5, I mistakenly wrote that if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, now considered the front-runner for the Democratic candidate for the presidency, was opposed in a Democratic primary by Sen. Barack Obama, it would be the "first time in American political history that a woman or an African American were to go head to head in a presidential primary." I incorrectly wrote that never before in American political history has a "woman or an African American run in a presidential primary." That, of course, was not accurate.

Further compounding the information I served up to my column readers, I neglected to mention that Shirley Chisholm, whose remains are in Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery, was the first black woman to actively run for the presidency in 1972. With only a few thousand dollars in her campaign kitty, she announced her candidacy and endured racism and sexism at the sweltering convention in Miami. She deeply resented being shut out by the Democratic Party.

In 1968 she was elected to represent Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant section in Congress and became the first black woman in Congress. She served seven terms and retired in 1983. She is buried in Forest Lawn because she married Arthur Hardwick Jr., a Western New Yorker who was the first black member of the State Assembly, and lived out her final years in Buffalo.

Elizabeth Dole (wife of Robert Dole), a senator from North Carolina, was an unsuccessful candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000.

As of this writing, it appears that Clinton and Obama may be facing off in many state Democratic presidential primaries. The outcome will be of great interest, with race versus gender tested for the first time with the nation's voters. Both candidates have their positives and their negatives. At this point I won't venture a guess on the outcome of what will be a fascinating contest. Of course, by the time this column is published, one or the other may have dropped out of contention.

Murray Light is the former editor of The Buffalo News.

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