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Conservative Strategists Focus on Female Voters in Wake of Losses in Va., Elsewhere

Conservative Strategists Focus on Female Voters in Wake of Losses in Va., Elsewhere

November 13, 2013 — Three Republican strategists are teaming up to open a political strategy firm that will focus on ways the party can appeal to female voters, the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, recent Democratic wins have brought attention to Republicans' struggles in appealing to women. For example, Virginia Gov.-Elect Terry McAuliffe (D) won by nine percentage points among women, even though the overall election results were much closer. The difference was most acute among unmarried women; McAuliffe's carried the group by 42 percentage points, according to the Times.

During the campaign, McAuliffe specifically targeted his opponent, state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R), on issues like abortion and contraception "with a multimillion-dollar barrage of negative ads," the Times reports. After the Virginia race last week, Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said, "The lesson for candidates in 2014 is unmistakable: Dismiss and demean women at your peril."

New Firm

The new strategy firm -- Burning Glass Consulting -- is led by Katie Gage, former deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, along with former Romney campaign staffer Ashley O'Connor and pollster Christine Matthews.

According to the Times, the firm will focus on public opinion research, television advertisements and general consulting for Republican candidates about how to better tailor their messages to women. In addition, Matthews said she plans to seek "longer-term engagement" with a group of women to better assess what shapes their political views.

Gage said, "Certainly there are challenges with other demographic groups, but women represent 53 percent of the electorate" (Martin, New York Times, 11/11).