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Patty Murray re-elected; Equality fail; MsRep helps the post-election blues



MsRepresentation Post-Election Daily Brief: November 5, 2010

Feeling Down…Even, MsRepresented, after Election Day?

Don't fret - MsRep is still here for you. Due to popular demand and troubling election results, MsRep will continue to keep you updated on the breaking and most critical women and politics news through the end of the year. She may not give you a Daily Brief, but it will certainly be a weekly dose of non-partisan, women-filled political news.

Click here to stay up to speed on women and politics news from MsRep.

One must be informed to fight the abysmal state of women's political representation.

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Gutty Murray Toughs Out Narrow Win

MsRep has to say it: Patty Murray is one tough politician. In a difficult year for Democrats and incumbents, she held off Dino Rossi–albeit in a very close race–to win her fourth term in the Senate. (Rossi conceded last night.)

Only four other women have achieved this feat and thus served as long or longer in the Senate: Maine's Margaret Chase Smith; Maryland's Barbara Mikulski; and Californians Diane Feinstein* and fellow class-of-92′er Barbara Boxer. (Actually, having first won a special election in 1992 to fill a partial term, Dianne Feinstein has served long than both Boxer and Murray despite winning only three regular elections since…so Murray has actually won one more full-term election than DiFi.)

Congrats Patty! WCF is proud to have worked on your campaign and thrilled to have your needed presence in the Senate.

Equality: Ur doing it wrong.

Seeing this headline on POLITICO yesterday almost made many of us cry: "John Boehner's boys: The new power club."

We couldn't resist putting a more fitting caption on this testosterone-overloaded picture.

Post-Election Powerhouse Press Call

WCF's president Sam Bennett and political director Erin Cutraro hosted a fantastic media call yesterday that included some high-caliber experts about, and participants in, women's politics:

  • American University's Women & Politics Institute Director and author Jennifer Lawless
  • Renowned Center for American Women and Politics Director Debbie Walsh
  • Groundbreaking former Virginia Congressional candidate Krystal Ball
  • Leading political strategist Celinda Lake
  • Terri Sewell, the first African American woman elected to Congress in AL-07

The panelists took questions from WCF members and the media about Tuesday's election results and what it meant for representation in Congress and elsewhere. Read some of the great coverage of the call by NPR and the Associated Press.

Somebody Should Sack Shuler

After Tuesday's House losses, it's perfectly reasonable for there to be talk of a change in Democratic Caucus leadership to replace Nancy Pelosi from what now becomes the minority leader's position. It's clear that Republican strategy to demonize the unpopular Speaker, as the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson discusses, worked on Tuesday.

But Heath Shuler as the new minority leader–is he kidding?

The former Redskin quarterback–once rated by ESPN the 4th biggest NFL "draft bust" of all time–couldn't carry the Speaker's luggage through an airport without fumbling. MsRep presumes Shuler is just trying to raise his profile or provide himself some electoral safety in his swing district by looking like the tough guy who challenged Pelosi's authority.

Women In The New Congress

During WCF's press call yesterday, many women and politics experts explained that the share of women within each party caucus held the same because Democrats lost women and men in roughly the same proportions as they presently have, and the same for Republican gains by gender. It's only because the current Democratic caucus is more female (23 percent) than the GOP caucus (9 percent) that the net Democratic losses pulled the overall female share down. Washington Post blogger Garance Franke-Ruta takes a closer look at those new GOP women.

Women Not In the New Congress

Elsewhere in the WaPo, Jason Horowitz examines the fate of three female GOP statewide candidates–Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorina and Linda McMahon–who, despite their business backgrounds and ample campaign resources, lost Tuesday in what otherwise was the so-called "Year of the Republican Woman."

The Economy–Not Anti-Choice Positions–Elected Them

Citing WCF's own Jodi Jacobson–in a post she wrote over at RHReality CheckSalon's Tracy Clark-Flory provides the cold, hard truth: Even though many anti-choice candidates who won congressional races did so because of the economy, watch for them to claim their victories were a mandate to restrict reproductive freedoms.

Change Slow For Female Candidates in Two Laggard States

Despite's Nikki Haley glass ceiling-breaking victory in the governor's office, South Carolina still has the smallest share of female state legislators in the country; halfway across the country, Utah has only had one female governor, one House member and no Senators–and none of the women running this year won. CarolinaLive.com's Lisa Edge writes that South Carolina still has a long way to go toward women's equality, and the Salt Lake Tribune's Peg McEntee argues the same is true in Utah.

Meghan McCain: O'Donnell "Out Of Her Frickin' Mind"

Yikes–let's all please get out of Meghan McCain's way. She let failed Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell have it the other night on The Tonight Show, saying she's "out of her frickin' mind." She also echoed Karl Rove's assertion (joined by WaPo columnist Michael Gerson) that Sarah Palin is not ready for prime-time, especially because her forthcoming Alaska reality show is "unpresidential."

Female Breadwinners Still Must Make the Sandwiches At Home

So, as women gain economic parity in their marriages by advancing in status and salary at the workplace, the balance of duties at home is shifting as well so that men are shouldering more of the burden around the house, right? Um, sorry, but no