Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.Subhead: Women also won mayoral races in cities around the country--including New Haven, Houston and Albany--and Letitia James became public advocate in New York City. In New Jersey, Barbara Buono said her party had betrayed her. Byline: WeNews staff
Ken Cuccinelli lost the governor's race in Virginia.
Credit: Eric Brown/PoliticalActivityLaw.com on Flickr, under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
(WOMENSENEWS)--A leading abortion-rights lobby is celebrating Democrat Terry McAuliffe's Nov. 5 victory in Virginia over Ken Cuccinelli, which blocks an anti-choice firebrand from gaining the governor's mansion in a state where critics say the "war on women is raging."
NARAL Pro-Choice America NARAL Pro-Choice America and NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia congratulated "pro-choice candidate Terry McAuliffe" in a late-night press statement on Nov. 5. A day earlier NARAL Pro-Choice America offered a run-down of its summer-long campaign efforts against Cuccinelli. As part of its "StopKen" campaign, the group's 10-point anti-choice fact sheet on the candidate began with his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape and ended with his sponsorship of "choose life" license plates.
Mother Jones reported Oct. 22 that Cuccinelli had given thousands of dollars to so-called pregnancy crisis centers, which provide anti-abortion counseling. "At one of the centers Cuccinelli supported, staff told women that abortion increases their chance of breast cancer," Mother Jones' reporter Molly Redden wrote.
Redden also reported that NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia, in 2010, sent a team to visit a pregnancy crisis center. The women were made to watch a graphic video of an abortion and were told that should they have children in the future, they would always regret the child they could have raised had he or she not been aborted.
Ken Cuccinelli donated to groups that tell women abortion causes breast cancer: http://t.co/cPOe0L1BV2
-- Mother Jones (@MotherJones) October 23, 2013
After retweeting the above, NARAL launched an ad campaign two days later on Oct. 24 with a 30-second video uploaded to YouTube called, "May We Come In?" In it, a life-size cardboard cutout of Cuccinelli is carried by an unidentifiable man – his face is unseen-- who knocks on a house door. A woman opens the door to find the cutout and hears a male voice: "Did you know that Ken Cuccinelli doesn't support a woman's right to choose even in cases of rape and incest? May we come in ma'am?"
Once inside the woman's home, the man asks if the cutout of Cuccinelli can enter her daughter's bedroom. The male voice then asks if she knew that Cuccinelli banned contraception. The woman shakes her head no. The video ends with a warning to "keep Ken Cuccinelli out of your bedroom, medicine cabinet and the governor's mansion."
Other pro-choice groups also applauded McAuliffe's victory.
Congratulations to Virginia Governor, Terry McAuliffe and Lt. Governor, Ralph Northam!! Wins for Virginia women! Keep em' comin'!!
-- Women's Strike Force (@WomensPAC) November 6, 2013
The Women's Strike Force is a nonpartisan group that formed in 2012 to protest lawmakers who voted in favor of a bill that would have made women seeking an abortion to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound, a process the group said met the state's definition of rape.
Barbara Buono Betrayed in New Jersey
In New Jersey, the reelection of GOP Gov. Chris Christie left his opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, capturing only 38 percent of the votes. In her concession speech, Buono, who ran with little funding support from Democrats, condemned her own party leadership for working with Christie out of personal self-interest.
Christie gained 57 percent of the female vote as compared to the 42 percent acquired by Buono. Early in his term, Christie cut $7.5 million to women's health care centers such as Planned Parenthood, saying that federally qualified health care centers can fill the need, Jenna Portnoy of Newark's Star-Ledger reported last month.
Women, who represent about 17 percent of the country's mayors in cities with populations over 300,000, won a few key victories Nov. 5. Here's a sampling:
Toni Harp, a Democratic state senator, was elected mayor of New Haven, Conn., becoming the first African American woman to hold the office.
Kathy Sheehan, who ran with the endorsement of Emily's List, claimed a whopping 84 percent of the votes and was elected mayor of Albany, N.Y.
Nan Whaley, Democratic city commissioner of Dayton, Ohio, was elected mayor of Dayton. She had a 56 percent majority over her opponent A.J. Wagner, a former county auditor.
In Houston, Annise Parker was reelected to her third and final term on Nov. 5. The second woman to hold the seat, she made history as the first openly homosexual mayor of an American city. In an Oct. 17 article, Parker said she was intent on working to end human trafficking across the Texas border with Mexico. She touted her two-year "Hire Houston First" initiative, which aids small businesses owned by minorities and women, in an Oct. 25 op-ed.
In New York City's election, Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James made history by winning the office of public advocate and becoming the first African American woman elected to a citywide office.
Reshmi Kaur Oberoi is an editorial intern with Women's eNews and is a New York-based freelance journalist. Follow her on Twitter @ReshmiKO.
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