Barbara Mikulski, Jodi Rell, Mary Landrieu, and Susan Collins. These are just some of the women Chris Murphy and Linda McMahon are featuring on the campaign trail in their efforts to woo women voters. Those voters are being constantly reminded of their gender in campaign commercials talking about abortion rights, contraception and mammograms.
This week on Face the State we talk about this factor in the race with two women highly regarded in their parties. Democrat Beth Bye, state senator from West Hartford, is a vocal supporter of Chris Murphy. Republican Jayme Stevenson, first selectwoman of Darien, is featured in a Linda McMahon campaign ad, and was tapped to introduce McMahon after winning the senate primary in August.
During our taping we talked about women’s issues, and a complaint we reporters have heard from some women: that Murphy and McMahon are concentrating too much on birth control and pregnancy, and that women also care about taxes, gas prices and high unemployment.
An interesting dynamic in the race is the potential history that could be made: Connecticut has never elected a woman to the U.S. senate, in fact, that glass ceiling has barely been cracked. In 1982, Democrats nominated Gloria Schaefer, who garnered 41% of the vote losing to Lowell Weicker. Two years ago, Linda McMahon did slightly better with 43%. This year Susan Bysiewicz failed in her bid to make history, as every leading Democratic woman in the state backed Murphy.
Is that important? Depends who you ask. Senator Bye, argued in the taping of Face the State, that in this race in 2012 a man is better for women than a woman. Selectman Stevenson said some women will vote for McMahon because she’s a woman.
We also talked about the decline in the number of women entering politics, even though there are more women on the Connecticut voter rolls than men. As for these two women, Stevenson has been talked up for a future statewide run, and Bye’s visibility is also on the rise. I asked Bye if she was interested in challenging Don Williams for senate president. The leadership at the capitol is currently all male.
We also have analysis from Christine Stuart of CT News Junkie and Brian Lockhart of Hearst Newspapers. Tune in this Sunday at 11AM on Face the State.
also watch this program on the issue of women in the race: http://dennishouse.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/womens-day-on-face-the-state/