News / USA

Republican Women Play Key Role in US Elections

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle speaks at a rally in Las Vegas, 21 Oct 2010
Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle speaks at a rally in Las Vegas, 21 Oct 2010

Multimedia

Republicans have fielded a record number of female congressional candidates for the November 2 midterm elections.

Republican Party women candidates are receiving a lot of media attention in congressional and gubernatorial races across the United States.

Public opinion surveys show the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Nevada, Sharron Angle, is virtually tied with Democratic Senate Majority leader Harry Reid only days ahead of the vote.

Angle has aggressively attacked Reid for being too soft on the issue of illegal immigrants and for voting for expensive government programs.

"Man up, Harry Reid! You need to understand that we have a problem with social security," she said.

Angle is one of several prominent female candidates who call themselves Tea Party Republicans, who support limited government, a strong military and low taxes.

"They tend to be very conservative - along the lines of Sharron Angle in Nevada or Christine O'Donnell in Delaware," said Michael O'Brien, a staff writer for The Hill newspaper. "And they are sort of this new era, this new generation of women leaders in the Republican Party that [former Alaska Governor] Sarah Palin is kind of an unofficial figurehead for."

Christine O'Donnell, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Delaware, says the media call her and other Tea Party candidates extremists and treat them unfairly.

"They call us wacky. They call us wing nuts," she said. "We call us, 'We the people.'"

Former Alaska Governor and Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin has given her backing to some of the Republican women candidates. She has coined the phrase "mama grizzlies" [i.e., female grizzly bears] to describe caring, but strong, women.

"Washington, let me tell you, you no doubt do not want to mess with moms who are rising up," said Palin. "In Alaska, I always think of the mama grizzly bears that rise up on their hind legs when somebody is coming to attack their cubs, to do something adverse toward their cubs. No, the mama grizzlies - they rear up, and if you thought pit bulls were tough, well, you do not want to mess with the mama grizzlies. And I think there are a whole lot of those in this room!"

Michelle Bernhard of the Independent Women's Forum, a non-partisan research group, says this group of female candidates is different because they are not focused on their gender and that they are not asking women to vote for them because they are women.

"Today, you see women campaigning on the economy, on education, on poverty, on prosperity, national security and terrorism," she said. "And we have finally gotten to a point in time when most of the American public sees that women's issues are no different than men's, and we see that in the candidates that are at the top of the tickets in state and national ballots across the country."

Bernhard says Sarah Palin might be an inspiration for some female candidates, but she adds:

"I firmly believe that all of these women would have run and were probably thinking about running long before Sarah Palin was on the vice presidential ticket with Senator McCain [who ran for U.S. president in 2008]. I think women have been getting involved in politics at the local, state and national level for a long time, and we are finally just seeing women rise through the ranks," she said.

"I think it is fair to say they were inspired to run, less by the fact that she was another woman than the fact that she espoused the sort of Tea Party affinity, ideology that she espouses, said David Hawkings, the Managing Editor of CQ, or Congressional Quarterly, Weekly magazine. "Yes, it is true that just two years ago was the first time that a Republican female was on a national party ticket. Sarah Palin was the first time that a Republican female was on a national ticket."

Women make up 51 percent of the U.S. population and only 17 percent of the House of Representatives and 17 percent of the Senate.

But Hawkings says it is unlikely that the number of women in Congress will increase on November 2nd.

"For every Republican or Democratic woman who is going to win, some are retiring and some are going to lose," he said. "In California, for example, Carly Fiorina, who is the former head of Hewlett-Packard and the Republican nominee for the Senate, is running against another woman, Barbara Boxer. So whoever wins that one, it will be just no net gain on women."

Some of the women who might lose their congressional seats this year, like Boxer and Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, hold powerful committee chairmanships. If Republicans win majority control of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi - the first female Speaker of the House - would be replaced.

Michelle Bernard of the Independent Women's Forum says that if female candidates lose this year, it will not be because of their gender. She says a recent survey of 1,000 independent voters reveals that voters are unhappy with both major political parties.

"This is a beauty contest where all the contestants are ugly. They do not like the Democrats; they do not like the Republicans," she said. "They happen to be leaning Republican right now - not as a vote for Republicans, but as a vote against Democrats. And I think that is what is going to be very telling about the November elections."

Some veteran female incumbents who hold senior positions in Congress might find themselves replaced by members of a new wave of women candidates.

You May Like

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land In French Port

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching 'Fortress Europe' More

Video Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

New Hints That Dark Matter Exists

New evidence from International Space Station hints at existence of dark matter and dark energy More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calaisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 19, 2014 5:04 PM
The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video CERN Accelerator Back in Business

The long upgrade of the Large Hadron Collider is over. The scientific instrument responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson -- the so-called "God particle" -- is being brought up to speed in time for this month's 60th anniversary of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, known by its French acronym CERN. Physicists hope the accelerator will help them uncover more secrets about the origins of the universe. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid