Republicans showed Tuesday they’ve solved Democrats’ “war on women” attack, winning key races in Colorado, Virginia, Kentucky and Iowa where President Obama and his allies had hoped that message would help them overcome voter fatigue.
Republican women won the Iowa Senate race and a House seat in the Virginia suburbs, overcoming “war on women” attacks from Democratic men, while Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell won re-election by overcoming a challenge from Alison Lundergan Grimes.
And in Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner, a Republican, unseated Sen. Mark Udall, whose obsessive attacks on Mr. Gardner in a bid to win the female vote earned him the moniker “Mark Uterus.”
“The ‘war on women’ — that was the most ridiculous thing. That’s a non-issue,” said Paula, a Colorado voter who declined to give her last name, after dropping off her son’s ballot. “There’s no war on women.”
Maybe the biggest defeat for “war on women” Democrats came at the hands of Democrats themselves, when Sandra Fluke lost her bid for a California Senate seat.
Ms. Fluke had become a national symbol after she pleaded with Congress to insist that religious institutions be required to pay for their employees’ birth control under Obamacare. Radio show host Rush Limbaugh inflamed matters when he took to the airwaves to label her a “slut.”
The attention made Ms. Fluke an instant political celebrity and the face of women’s rights, and she had initially pondered a bid for Congress, though eventually settled on running for state Senate.
Fellow Democrat Ben Allen easily defeated her in a run-off election Tuesday.
Democrat Wendy Davis, who gained a national following after she took to the Texas state Senate to filibuster abortion restrictions, was trounced in her bid to win that state’s governorship.
Democrats had used the war-on-women attack to great effect in 2012, defending two of their endangered U.S. Senate seats by tarnishing GOP candidates who had stumbled over the issue of abortion. And GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney regularly found himself facing questions over the extent of his support for equal pay for women.
Earlier this year, when the Supreme Court ruled that closely held corporations couldn’t be forced to pay for contraceptive coverage for their employees under Obamacare, Democrats thought they’d gotten a new lease on the issue, attacking Republicans for what they said was trying to deny women access to birth control pills.
But Mr. Gardner and other Republicans countered, calling for birth control pills to be made available over the counter. That seemed to dent the Democratic attack.
In Virginia, Republican Barbara Comstock held onto a congressional seat in the suburbs outside of Washington, also fending off war-on-women attacks from her Democratic opponent John W. Foust.
Ms. Comstock in the state legislature had voted for a bill requiring transvaginal ultrasounds before some women could obtain abortions, and Mr. Foust’s campaign ran ads attacking her for it.
The Republican, however, countered that abortion wasn’t going to be a major issue she would face in Congress.
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