Pharos-Tribune

Columns

June 15, 2014

HOWEY: Republicans, war on women and Latinos

Less than two years after Democrats tried to tag the “war on women” label on Indiana Republicans — with some success — delegates at the GOP Convention here nominated the first all female ticket in state history.

Going before voters in November will be Treasurer nominee Kelly Mitchell, who defeated Marion Mayor Wayne Seybold and Don Bates Jr. in a three-ballot floor fight for the nod last Saturday, along with appointed Secretary of State Connie Lawson and appointed Auditor Suzanne Crouch.

Republican delegates also bade farewell to out-going Treasurer Richard Mourdock who made historical parallels between a bankrupt Weimar Republic that yielded Nazi Germany and the U.S. debt crisis and from Republican National Chairman Reince Priebus a little more than a year after he issued the party autopsy of the 2012 elections in which the GOP lost to President Obama despite a big jobless rate, and failed to regain the U.S. Senate because of failed nominees such as Mourdock.

Mourdock received a standing ovation from the delegates after his emotional speech. The fact that the convention end frame was of Mitchell, Lawson and Crouch arm in arm was a fascinating contrast.

Let’s go back in time to late 2012. The presidential nominee Mitt Romney won the female vote by 5 percent here in Indiana, and Mourdock lost them by 10 percent. In the September Howey/DePauw Indiana Battleground Poll, Mike Pence was leading women 46-33 percent. In the October survey which was conducted three days after Mourdock’s campaign imploded with his debate comments in which he made comments saying that “God intends” children conceived by rape, Pence and Democrat John Gregg were tied at 42 percent among female voters.

And then came Election Day. Pence barely escaped the charging Gregg with just 49 percent of the vote and less than a 3 percent win and the erosion of support among women voters was tricking. Pence lost the female vote to Gregg 52-47 percent. Republican pollster Christine Matthews, who conducted the polls with Democratic pollster Fred Yang, would observe, “In our final social media analysis, the words ‘rape, pregnancy and abortion’ were prominent for Mourdock, but unfortunately for Mike Pence, they also factored into his image and the perception that he was standing behind Mourdock.”

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