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

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license 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.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid