BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

2010 Election Overview

Posted by egehl on August 9, 2010

After the intensity and length of the 2008 election season, it’s hard to believe we are less than 90 days away from the next election.  While mid-term elections don’t garner as much attention as a Presidential year, they should because they have equal importance and impact on our political makeup and national issues. 

There are a number of key races this year and many involve women candidates or male candidates that will have an impact on women’s issues.

Earlier in the summer many political pundits deemed a major primary as “ladies night”.  That was because a number of Democratic and Republican women succeeded in their races.  A potential boost for women in this year’s election may lie in the anti-incumbent mood of voters.  Male lawmakers, just by their sheer dominance, are more vulnerable while female candidates are often perceived as outsiders.

Women represent change and that’s a good thing for both political parties.  Despite women now outnumbering men in the workplace and colleges enrolling more women, equality in politics has been very slow-paced.  These victories for women need to be noted, as Congress is still only 14 percent female while only 6 of 50 state governors are women.

The gender gap remains an important factor in elections, especially close races.  In close elections, which in this day in age tends to be most races, the votes of women can be decisive for four reasons: women outnumber men among voters; significant efforts are underway to increase registration and turnout among women; a gender gap has been evident over the past 20 years; and women constitute a disproportionately large share of the undecided voters who will make their decisions late in the campaign. 

Election 2010 races to watch include:

Arkansas: Senate incumbent Democrat Blanche Lincoln had the toughest fight of her political career during the June primary race, and won by appealing to independents.  She will go up against Republican John Boozman who now holds a 25-point lead.

South Carolina: The South Carolina GOP gubernatorial contest captured national attention because of accusations directed toward Nikki Haley of extramarital affairs.  Despite those allegations, Republican candidate Nikki Haley Haley is the Republican nominee in the South Carolina gubernatorial election and will run against Representative Gresham Barrett.

California: Two wealthy business women in California captured two races—Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.  California Republican voters chose these two women to vie for two of the state’s highest seats.   Meg Whitman will face Attorney General Jerry Brown for the Governor’s office, and Carly Fiorina will take on Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) for her seat. 

Nevada: Tea Party-backed Sharron Angle beat the GOP establishment candidate to earn the right to take on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November.

Louisiana: Senator Vitter (R-LA) will face Representative Charlie Melancon (D-LA) in the Senate race.  As previously written in a YWM blog, Senator Vitter’s former staff person in charge of women’s issues pleaded guilty in 2008 to three misdemeanors after police said he held a girlfriend against her will at knifepoint, cut her badly enough to require stitches and threatened to kill her.  It was also made public that Senator Vitter retained him on staff regardless of the arrest and ironically made him the staff person in charge of women’s issues.  That decision does not give me confidence, among other things on his record, that he will have the best interests of women if re-elected to the Senate.

Florida:  The Florida Governor’s race is heating up to be a good contest.  The nasty battle for the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Florida between state Attorney General Bill McCollum and former health care executive Rick Scott has worked to the benefit of Democrat Alex Sink in the latest general election match-ups, but that may change once Republicans settle on their candidate and Sink has to contend with an independent candidate who has a Democratic pedigree.  McCollum and Sink are statistically tied in a three-way race.

Kentucky:  The Senate race has gotten a lot of attention because of Rand Paul, the Tea Party activist who won the Republican nomination. He will be going up against Attorney General Jack Conway who won the Democratic nomination.  Right now the race is a toss-up.

It’s important that women get to the polls and make their voices heard.  Women voters sway every election so if a majority stay home dire consequences can happen.

So don’t forget to encourage your female friends, colleagues and family members to get to the polls in November!

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One Response to “2010 Election Overview”

  1. […] With mid-term elections only eight days away, I have to remind us that women have had significant gains under this administration that can not be ignored. We must get out to vote! […]

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