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

As US Strikes Syria, China Sees Parallels at Home

Beijing is debating how much support to give international coalition against IS militants and trying to figure out how many Chinese nationals may have joined group overseas More

CDC: Ebola Could Infect 1.4 Million by January

US health officials say if efforts to curb the outbreak are not increased, cases will soar dramatically by early next year More

Video USAID Provides $231 Million for Girls Education in 5 Countries

US Agency for International Development partners with celebrities to call attention to importance of education for girls worldwide 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.
NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbiti
X
September 22, 2014 9:20 PM
NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video NASA’s MAVEN Probe Enters Mars Orbit

NASA’s newest Mars probe, called MAVEN, has successfully entered its designated orbit around the Red Planet. Scientists will use its sophisticated instruments to try to learn what happened to the atmosphere Mars had a few billion years ago. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video For West Ukraine City, Conflict Far Away Yet Near

The western Ukrainian city of Lviv prides itself on being both physically and culturally close to Western Europe. The Russian-backed separatists in the eastern part of the country are 1,200 kilometers away, and seemingly even farther away in their world view. Still, as VOA’s Al Pessin reports, the war is having an impact in Lviv.
Video

Video Saving Global Fish Stocks Starts in the Kitchen

With an estimated 90 percent of the world’s larger fish populations having already vanished, a growing number of people in the seafood industry are embracing the concept of sustainable fishing and farming practices. One American marine biologist turned restaurateur in Thailand is spreading the word among fellow chefs and customers. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Chinese Admiral Key in China’s Promotion of Sea Links

China’s President last week wrapped up landmark visits to India, Sri Lanka and Maldives, part of a broader campaign to promote a new “Maritime Silk Road” in Asia. The Chinese government’s promotion efforts rely heavily on the country’s best-known sailor, a 15th century eunuch named Zheng He. VOA's Bill Ide reports from the sailor’s hometown in Yunnan on the effort to promote China’s future by recalling its past.
Video

Video Experts Fear Ebola Outbreak ‘Beyond Our Capability to Contain’

Each day brings with it new warnings about the deadly Ebola outbreak already blamed for killing more than 2,600 people across West Africa. And while countries and international organizations like the United Nations are starting to come through on promises of help for those most affected, the unprecedented speed with which the virus has spread is raising questions about the international response. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from Washington.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
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 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 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.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid