Democrats Revive the ‘War on Women’ Against Republican Senate Candidates

Michigan Republican Terri Lynn Land ridicules the attacks in her first TV ad.

A member of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), Pro-Choice America protest with their 'Etch A Sketch' in hand protest outside a hotel in Washington, DC.
National Journal
Alex Roarty
April 22, 2014, 10:29 a.m.

For­get job growth or the de­fi­cit. A pair of TV ads re­leased Tues­day sug­gests the 2014 elec­tions will dive head­first in­to a fierce de­bate over wo­men’s is­sues.

The new on-air missives came from a pair of mar­quee Sen­ate cam­paigns: Demo­crat­ic Sen. Mark Ud­all of Col­or­ado and Re­pub­lic­an Sen­ate can­did­ate Terri Lynn Land of Michigan, both of whom are in com­pet­it­ive races in battle­ground states. And be­cause each is the first TV ad from either cam­paign, they will set the tone for the races’ next six months.

In Ud­all’s case, the in­cum­bent took aim at Rep. Cory Gard­ner’s pri­or sup­port of so-called per­son­hood le­gis­la­tion. The hard-hit­ting ad ac­cuses the GOP con­gress­man of op­pos­ing abor­tion rights in cases of rape and in­cest and of “cham­pi­on­ing an eight-year cru­sade to out­law com­mon forms of birth con­trol.”

“It comes down to re­spect,” a fe­male nar­rat­or says in the ad. “For wo­men, and our lives.”

The ad buy, ac­cord­ing to the cam­paign, is worth $500,000 spread over two weeks.

It’s not sur­pris­ing that Ud­all is tak­ing aim at Gard­ner’s po­s­i­tion on abor­tion rights and con­tra­cep­tion ac­cess: His cam­paign tele­graphed those at­tacks from the minute the Re­pub­lic­an un­ex­pec­tedly entered the race in Feb­ru­ary. Demo­crats suc­cess­fully used a so­cial-is­sue play­book in the last com­pet­it­ive Sen­ate race in cos­mo­pol­it­an Col­or­ado, when Mi­chael Ben­net (now chair­man of the Demo­crat­ic Sen­at­ori­al Cam­paign Com­mit­tee) won a nar­row vic­tory in 2010, and Gard­ner him­self re­nounced his sup­port of per­son­hood le­gis­la­tion shortly after en­ter­ing his race.

It might sur­prise, however, that the cam­paign is go­ing neg­at­ive in April, an in­dic­a­tion of the danger Demo­crats be­lieve the well-fun­ded Gard­ner poses.

Neg­at­ive ads like Ud­all’s are part of a Demo­crat­ic polit­ic­al at­tack against Re­pub­lic­ans known as the “War on Wo­men,” a charge the party leveled with suc­cess in the 2012 elec­tions. And they ex­plain why Land’s cam­paign ran its own ad in Michigan, a spot de­signed to re­but charges that she’s in­sens­it­ive to wo­men’s is­sues.

“Con­gress­man Gary Peters and his bud­dies want you to be­lieve I’m wa­ging a war on wo­men,” Land says, speak­ing in­to the cam­era. “Really? Think about that for a mo­ment.”

Land then stops talk­ing as el­ev­at­or mu­sic plays in the back­ground, as she drinks from a cof­fee mug and checks her watch.

“I’m Terri Lynn Land and I ap­prove this mes­sage be­cause, as a wo­man, I might know a little bit more about wo­men than Gary Peters,” she said.

The ad is one of the most vis­ible push­backs yet from Re­pub­lic­ans, who be­lieve they were hurt badly two years ago in part be­cause the party mustered only a muted coun­ter­ar­gu­ment to Demo­crat­ic at­tacks geared to­ward fe­male voters. (They also had to deal with fal­lout from nom­in­ee Todd Akin’s con­tro­ver­sial “le­git­im­ate rape” com­ments on abor­tion in the 2012 Mis­souri Sen­ate race, and In­di­ana Sen­ate nom­in­ee Richard Mour­dock’s op­pos­i­tion to abor­tion for rape vic­tims.) And it comes as Demo­crats prom­ise to re­vive the at­tacks this year, in par­tic­u­lar fo­cus­ing on Re­pub­lic­ans who have sup­por­ted Per­son­hood le­gis­la­tion in the past.

Demo­crats have said they need to dwell on such is­sues in part to drive up turnout among single wo­men, a key con­stitu­ency that votes in dis­pro­por­tion­ately few­er num­bers dur­ing midterm elec­tions.

Not all early TV ads from Sen­ate can­did­ates men­tion wo­men’s is­sues: In many of the red states in play this year, most of the dis­cus­sion has fo­cused on more fin­ic­ally themed is­sues like Obama­care, So­cial Se­cur­ity, and Medi­care. But at least in a pair of blue states, 2014 is pick­ing up right where 2012 left off. Wel­come to the War Over Wo­men.

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
2 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
3 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×