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Braun ahead in Senate bid.

Carol Moseley Braun's historic bid to become the first black woman in the U.S. Senate has taken on the feel of a movement. The 44-year-old attorney and Cook County recorder of deeds has forged a new coalition between AfricanAmerican and women voters that has her on the verge of victory.

In March, Braun scored a shocking Democratic primary victory over incumbent Sen. Alan J. Dixon (D.-III.). By August, the momentum from that victory had swept her to a 10% lead in the polls over Republican challenger Richard S. Williamson. Most political pundits attribute her success to a wave of female voter discontent that surfaced after the Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Still others point to an anti-incumbent sentiment created by political gridlock in Washington, and political scandals such as last year's House Bank checkwriting debacle.

"Carol Moseley Braun is in an excellent position to win in Illinois this year," says Nehl Horton, communications director for the Washington, D.C.based Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. "Braun is facing Richard Williamson, who represents everything that went wrong in the '80s .... All you have to do is show his agenda during the Reagan administration."

Northeastern Illinois University Assoc. Prof. Robert Storks says that because Braun is a female, pro-choice candidate, Illinois' suburban Republican women voters may be willing to break with tradition to support her. "Republicans haven't had any credible women candidates on the local or national scene for some time," says Starks, also an issues consultant for the Braun campaign.

David Bositis, senior research associate for the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, says to win, Braun must "turn out a big Democratic vote in Cook County. Not just black votes, but white votes .... She must also turn out a big vote of college community types and black pockets around the state."

The opportunity for victory is there, but it is hardly a lock. Local observers say that Braun must be careful not to let her mainstream appeal alienate her from black voters. A heavy black voter turnout is considered crucial. Critics charge she is taking the black vote for granted. And some fear her low-key style may work against her in debates before the election. Braun was not available for comment at press time.
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Title Annotation:Carole Moseley Braun; Illinois
Author:Weaver, Maurice
Publication:Black Enterprise
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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