Women have cast the majority of votes in every statewide election in Georgia in recent memory. We expect this trend to continue in the 2014 midterm elections. That year, Georgians will go to the polls to elect constitutional officers, Congress men and women and a new United States Senator.
Saxby Chambliss, Georgia’s senior US Senator shocked the Political world in Georgia by announcing he wouldn’t seek reelection. Elections come around every few years, but open United States Senate seats do not, which is why Chambliss’ announcement created such excitement among politicos.
Despite the influence of women at the ballot box very few women run or win major office in Georgia. There are no women in Georgia’s congressional delegation and no women elected to a statewide office in Georgia. And other than former republican gubernatorial candidate, Karen Handel, no other woman has been mentioned as being a credible replacement for Chambliss.
One of the Republican Party’s rising stars, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, recently said the GOP needed to “stop being the stupid party”. The genesis of the “stupid party” comment might have came from the high profile missteps of Republican Senate candidates in Missouri and Indiana. Both states went to Mitt Romney in the Presidential race, but elected Democratic US Senators largely because of the negative comments the Republican nominees made about women.
Swing voters in general elections are almost always viewed to be women. It is hard to imagine, even in Georgia, that women will support Karen Handel in large numbers because of the hard line positions she has taken against women’s reproductive choice and healthcare. It is hard to imagine the majority of Georgia’s women will forget the rhetoric and policy positions of the other potential Republican nominees. If Democrats nominate a candidate whose positions are attractive to women it will likely lead to support from women who have voted Republican in the last few election cycles.
Georgia’s women voters may be more conservative on social issues than their sisters in other parts of the United States, but Georgia women want fair and equal wages for equal work. They want equal access to jobs and healthcare for their children and elderly family members. They want good education for their children and a clean, sustainable environment.
I look forward to supporting the Democratic nominee rather than running myself. I would love for this nominee to be a woman, but that seems unlikely. Nevertheless, for most Georgia women rape is rape and equal pay is equal pay. That’s politics 101 in 2012, 2013 and 2014.