Why Isn’t Iowa Electing Women?

It was among the first states to legalize gay marriage and served as the 2008 campaign liftoff site for the first black president, but in other arenas Iowa isn’t quite so progressive — it’s also one of just two states to never elect a woman governor or member of Congress.

The other is Mississippi, a fact that causes a certain amount of handwringing among Iowa’s political classes.

With Senate and House seats open in 2014 in the wake of Sen. Tom Harkin’s decision to retire, many think this could be the time for a woman to finally break through. But after several high-profile possibilities have taken themselves out of consideration — most recently Republican Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds opting out of a Senate run — the prospects are unclear.

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