Of the nine female Republicans who hold seats in the U.S. Senate, four could be looking for new jobs after November’s election as their allegiance to Donald Trump has dragged down their approval ratings and imperiled their re-election prospects.
According to Politico, the Republican contingent in the Senate is in danger of becoming overwhelmingly male and white with female candidates up for election this year struggling to hold onto their seats due to a president who is not considered strong on women’s issues.
With Politico’s Marianne Levine and James Arkin writing, “Both Republicans and Democrats note that the women GOP senators in competitive races are not endangered because of their gender, but because of the states they represent and the broader electoral environment facing the party,” Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) who is also facing re-election for a fairly safe seat admitted, “It’s always been … a traditional weak spot for us.”
According to Politico, “Out of nine Senate GOP women serving, four face highly competitive races this year in Arizona, Maine, Georgia and Iowa.”
Those GOP senators are Martha McSally of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia who is also being dogged by accusations of insider trading during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the report, “Republicans face a challenging electoral environment up and down the ballot, particularly as suburban female voters have turned away from the party in droves out of antipathy for President Donald Trump. Losing those races would be a setback for the party’s efforts to broaden its representation — and to keep the Senate majority. Along with other battlegrounds in North Carolina, Colorado and Montana, they could decide which party controls the Senate.”
Former Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) chief of staff Janet Mullins Grissom admitted it is a bad time to be a Republican woman running with an unpopular president on the ticket.
“It’s a tough alignment of the stars, because we’ve seen such progress with Republican women in the Senate and it just so happens that it’s a really tough year,” she admitted before adding, “I think we can be optimistic and hopeful that they’ll battle back in what’s been a tough year.”
Of the four looking at being ousted, Arizona’s McSally — who was appointed to her seat — faces the biggest battle, currently sitting way behind in the polls behind former astronaut Mark Kelly who is married to popular former Rep. Gabby Giffords.
According to McSally, an ardent backer of Donald Trump, she believes she can pull out a win with the support of women voters.
“I’m a suburban, college-educated woman, so this is my demographic,” McSally explained. “I’ve given my life to serve others, to break barriers for others … to stand up against discriminating policies like my eight-year battle in the Pentagon over the burka so this is my constituency, man.”
“Democrats argue that the GOP has a major problem with women voters, fueled mostly by Trump’s divisive presidency, and one that will hurt Senate candidates across the map,” the Politico report states. “National surveys and battleground polls consistently show a major advantage for Joe Biden over Trump with women. Biden had a 22-percentage point lead among women in a recent New York Times national survey, and an even larger lead among college-educated women. Democrats expect similar gender gaps to emerge in Senate contests, some of which are being fought in presidential battlegrounds.”
According to Martha McKenna, who ran the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s independent expenditure program in 2018, the increasingly unpopular Trump is a drag on all the Republican candidates in 20202.
“If you vote with an unpopular president like Donald Trump — who’s doing damage to your state — 96, 97, 98 percent of the time, voters are going to hold you accountable,” she explained. “Trump’s ugliness and destruction, and their complicity in that, is an impossible hurdle for them. Women voters are done and that’s true for all of them.”
Noting that Collins is in a tight race to hold onto her seat after supporting the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite credible allegations of sexual harassment lodged against him, the other two endangered female candidates also have their hands full hanging onto their seats.
“Ernst’s race is a toss-up and a recent poll from the Des Moines Register had [Theresa] Greenfield leading as Trump’s poll numbers slip in a state he carried four years ago. And Loeffler has trailed [GOP primary opponent Rep. Doug] Collins in the polls amid scrutiny over her stock trades during the pandemic, though the FBI and Ethics Committee have since dropped probes on the issue,” the Politico report states
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