Super PACs Promote Women Candidates for Senate

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Disparity in politics is gradually changing course for women, very slowly. But with Super PACs focussing on women candidates more than before, an increase in senate seats for women is imminent.

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h/t: Women’s E-news.org

As Democrats and Republicans wage an intense fight for control of the U.S. Senate in November’s midterm elections, super PACs are concentrating on 10 races that poll as the most competitive because incumbents are in trouble or long-term senators are retiring.

Among these races, seven involve female candidates, which rewrites the usual script about sex and money.

Historically, the high cost of campaigning has prevented many well-qualified women from seeking higher office. But not this year, at least not in these key U.S. Senate bids.

Super PACs–a new form of political action committee that can raise unlimited funds–are hindering women’s political prospects in some ways, as the primaries have already shown this year. But when the PACs get focused on female candidates, as they are here, the tide can also suddenly shift.

Three super PACs in particular are pouring millions into the seven races for the Senate, where women currently hold only 20 seats, one-fifth of the chamber.

In addition to the strategic calculations about weak incumbents and retirements, these races also carry the parties’ hopes for improving their standing with female voters.

During the 2012 presidential election, Republicans lost the female vote by 11 percentage points. During the 2010 midterm election, turnout by female Democrats plummeted, which contributed to the Democrats losing the House and barely retaining control of the Senate.womenpolitics2

Republicans need a net gain of six seats among the 36 contests to take control of the Senate for the first time since 2006.

Democrats meanwhile are determined to increase their edge, which is currently 51 Democrats to 47 Republicans, so that they can set the legislative agenda of Congress during the last two years of the Obama administration. (Two independent senators, when counted, add up to 100, the total number of senators.)

The U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission case of 2010 opened the floodgates to a deluge of money from corporations, labor unions and wealthy individuals, notes Bill Addison, editorial director of the Washington-based Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit group that supports accountability and transparency in government.

“Unlike the candidate who must adhere to the donation limits — currently at $2,600 per individual — super PACs can collect unlimited funds,” Addison said in a phone interview. “In some cases, super PACs are collecting more money than the candidates’ own committees.

 

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