New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has learned a lot from her challenger, Wendy Long. No, not much about the race, where she already has a comfortable 30 point lead. Instead, she’s realizing how much work needs to be done to get more women running for office, especially women who don’t stump for the religious right.
“[I]f we had 50 percent of women in Congress, we would not be debating contraception,” she said at a fundraiser, according to The Washington Post. “We would be debating the economy, small business, jobs, national security — everything but.”
Gillibrand is using her massive fundraising prowess to focus on other women now–in this case Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, Christie Vilsack in Iowa, and Val Demmings in Florida. If all three women won, it could make a massive change in the ratio not just of Republicans to Democrats in the House, but from male to female as well.
It would also change the tone of the House, too. Vilsack is challenging Republican Steve King, author of the anti-“robo-skype abortions” bill that he hoped would cut off any expansion of telemed abortions, a procedure that would provide much greater and more affordable access to very early terminations for women in rural areas. Demmings is trying to unseat Congressman Daniel Webster, who is so far to the right that he believes divorce is only allowable if one spouse commits adultery, regardless of what other abuses may be going on in the marriage.
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With men like these in the House, is it any wonder that so many people are focused on bringing in more women to run?