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Democrats Prioritize Women in Midterm Messaging

Democrats Prioritize Women in Midterm Messaging

February 26, 2014 — Democrats are making female voters a centerpiece of their midterm election strategy, with a particular focus on women's economic security and abortion rights, Politico reports.

According to Politico, Democrats tend to win elections when more women vote, but midterm elections typically draw a smaller percentage of female voters than other elections.

Democrats hope that renewing women-focused efforts that brought success in 2012 and 2013 races, as well as reigniting accusations that Republicans are waging a "war on women," will help them maintain control of the Senate, gain seats in the House and win several key governorships.

President Obama, House Leader Pelosi Cite Economic Efforts

As part of this overarching strategy, President Obama at an upcoming Working Families summit at the White House, as well as in a series of speeches around the country, will discuss expanded pregnancy leave, stronger leave policies for families with sick children and workplace protections. Similarly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Senatorial Committee are embracing pay equity as a major pull for female voters.

Meanwhile, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will expand on the Women's Economic Agenda she introduced last summer by leading Democrats in highlighting Republican resistance to the Paycheck Fairness Act (S 84, HR 377) and efforts to boost minimum wage.

Focus on Abortion Rights

According to Politico, "Democrats believe nothing moves female voters like abortion rights," and GOP candidates' support for antiabortion-rights legislation gives Democrats "more than enough to go on."

For example, Republican candidates for Senate seats include North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, who supports a "personhood" amendment, and Montana Rep. Steve Daines, who opposes abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Democrats also are targeting Republican Govs. Tom Corbett (Pa.), John Kasich (Ohio), Rick Scott (Fla.) and Scott Walker (Wis.), all of whom signed legislation requiring ultrasounds before abortions.

Moreover, Democrats are confident that Republican candidates will provide more fodder for the claim that they are anti-women by making controversial or alienating remarks -- such as the "legitimate rape" comment -- despite ongoing GOP media training.

Republican Strategy

Meanwhile, Republican National Committee press secretary Kirsten Kukowski said the GOP also aims to make women "a huge part of our messaging" during the midterm elections, including a soon-to-be-launched program that aims to identify and recruit female voters and female campaign operatives (Dovere, Politico, 2/26).