Maybe Representative Patricia Schroeder just picked the wrong year. In 1988, lack of money and support forced the Colorado Democrat to give up her plan to seek the Presidential nomination. But 1992 is turning into the year of the female insurgent. The most stunning evidence was the victory of Democrat Lynn H. Yeakel, who won the nomination to challenge Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) this fall. A fund-raiser for women's causes who had never sought office, Yeakel turned her outrage at Specter's role in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings into a crusade that left two experienced opponents in the dust. "The politics of experience can prevail over the experience of politics," Yeakel declared in her victory speech.

It will be tough for Yeakel to dump Specter, whose pro-choice stand has long won him the support of women's groups. But this could be the year that women, the ultimate political outsiders, profit from voters' surly mood. In Democratic Senate races alone, Yeakel and Chicago's Carol Moseley Braun have won nominations. Former Representative Geraldine A. Ferraro leads in New York. And California could produce two women nominees: former San Francisco Mayor Dianne Feinstein and Representative Barbara Boxer.

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