In numbers of elected women, Democrats are outnumbered by Republicans in one category: female governors. Currently, there are four female Republican governors — Jan Brewer (Ariz.), Susana Martinez (N.M.), Mary Fallin (Okla.), and Nikki Haley (S.C.). Democrats have Maggie Hassan (N.H.).
But the Democrats are looking to change that in 2014, when there will be 36 governor’s races to watch. So far, there are at least nine races with Democratic women running. Republicans are running six candidates in the gubernatorial races. Democrats have the edge when it comes to support from women. Haley told the Associated Press that Republicans need to first ”show the fact there is no war on women.” The “war on women,” is not a talking point reserved for governor’s races, but one used across the Democratic party.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee seized the opportunity to tie the idea to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) earlier this year, with a graphic. ”A leaked copy of Speaker Boehner’s checklist for convincing women that Congressional Republicans aren’t really as bad as their extreme agenda makes them seem.”
The Republican party will have a second problem to confront — voting patterns. Women vote for the Democratic candidate in elections more than men do, and have since the 1980s, according to analysis by the Center for the American Woman and Politics. In some races, the women candidates will be running to the left of Republican governors who have pushed a conservative agenda. In Pennsylvania, for example, Allyson Schwartz is a Democratic candidate. She has the backing of EMILY’S List, which supports pro-choice candidates seeking election, and told the Associated Press that Corbett has “almost been dismissive of women.”
Corbett is pro-life, and backed a bill in the Pennsylvania legislature that would have required women have an ultrasound prior to an abortion. More damaging to the Republicans than Corbett’s stance are comments, such as a comment about “legitimate rape” made in 2012 by Todd Akin, who was a Republican Senate candidate.
For Republican women, the conversation needs to change. Former Republican New Jersey Governor, Christine Todd Whitman, told NBC that, “It’s not about the messaging; it’s the message. We are perceived as being unsympathetic to the needs of the most vulnerable.” Representative Connie Morella (R-Md.) agreed. “The issues have gone so far to the right, there’s not much appeal, especially for younger women.”