This post is a response to yesterday's article, Why Did Democratic Women Do So Poorly In 2006 House Elections?. I also would like to personally thank EMILY's List for coming to Open Left and moving this conversation forward. I hope that other groups and organizations will take up our standing Right to Respond offer as Open Left develops--Chris
In many ways 2006 was an extraordinary year for pro-choice Democratic women and for EMILY's List. We helped elect two new women to the United States Senate, all of our incumbent Senators and Representatives were re-elected, and all three of our Democratic women governors won re-election. Additionally, eight new Democratic women were elected to the House.
We take very seriously our responsibility to level the playing field for women candidates, and seek to continually do better. After every election for the past 22 years, EMILY's List closely examines the election results to better inform and educate Democratic women candidates as they run for office in the future; this election was no exception. In fact, we use outside analysts to do this, so that the examination can be as fair and balanced as possible. As we continue our research we will make sure our candidates are fully briefed because our ultimate goal is to win.
So far our analysis of the 2006 election has shown no single unifying explanation for why women candidates lost in these extremely close House races. Indeed, in many districts there were factors specific to that race that made a difference.
Keep in mind that if only 11,411 votes had gone the other way seven more pro-choice Democratic women would have won. These races were that close.
If there is a factor worth noting it's that these close races engaged early, and Republicans therefore were prepared to go on the attack early and did. Some of the races involved rematches from '04, many others were targets very early on.
Over the past two decades, no one has done more than EMILY's List to create a greater voice for Democratic Women at all levels of government. We have proudly helped elect 67 U.S. House members, 13 Senators, and eight Governors as well as hundreds of women at the state and local level over the years and look forward to helping elect many, many more in 2008 and into the future.
Check out more about EMILY's List at www.emilyslist.org.
Director, EMILY's List WOMEN Vote!