After the untimely passing of Sen. Thaddeus Caraway in 1931, Arkansas Gov. Harvey Parnell appointed Caraway’s widow, Hattie Wyatt Caraway, as his successor.
Her unorthodox appointment invited criticism. “Mrs. Caraway should have been given the appointment on her own merit,” blasted the Washington Post. She agreed; in a move that shocked Washington, Caraway announced her candidacy in the 1932 election. “The time has passed when a woman should be placed in a position and kept there only while someone else is being groomed for the job.”
Serving two terms, she successfully improved federal funding for Arkansas agriculture and education.