Campaign Daughters: A New Strategy for Women’s Outreach

(We’ve certainly taken Massachusetts to the next level haven’t we Rachel.  Looking forward to seeing you and the DCYR crew up here this weekend!!! – promoted by Rob “EaBo Clipper” Eno)

Of all the news coming out of the Massachusetts special election over the past week, one story should be of particular interest to female political observers. As the polls tighten, the race has garnered national attention – and who is coming to Scott Brown’s defense? Not just the national GOP, the Party’s grassroots, and third-party groups like the Chamber of Commerce and the Tea Party Express – this week Scott Brown’s  own daughters may be his knights in shining armor, especially when it comes to women’s outreach.

A Coakley ad released earlier this week charged that Scott Brown “favors letting hospitals deny emergency contraception to rape victims.” Yesterday, the Brown campaign started running a radio ad featuring Ayla and Arianna Brown, who call the claims that their father supports policies that hurt women “out of line.”  In their ad, Brown’s daughters say, “Martha Coakley and her supporters are saying hurtful and dishonest things about our dad.”

In an interview with the Boston Herald earlier this week, Ayla came out strong against her father’s opponent: “Martha Coakley’s new negative ad represents everything that discourages young women from getting involved in politics, and as a young woman, I’m completely offended by that.”

We’ve seen this strategy before. Just last fall in Virginia, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell faced charges that a graduate thesis he wrote twenty years ago suggested that working women undermined the family. Democrats tried to paint McDonnell as sexist and anti-woman. In response, McDonnell’s daughter Jeanine took to the airwaves with a TV ad defending her dad.

In the ad, Jeanine, a former Army platoon leader in Iraq, praised her father for encouraging his three daughters to be independent and achieve their goals. “He has worked to protect women and children from sexual predators and fight domestic violence,” she stated.

It worked. In November, 54 percent of women voted for Bob McDonnell. The Republican Governor-elect even won self-described working women. Of the 28 percent of women who indicated in the exit poll that they worked full time for pay, McDonnell won with 51 percent.  

Is this trend of using campaign daughters a new GOP strategy for attracting women voters? It may be – especially if Brown is successful in garnering a significant percentage of the female vote in Tuesday’s special election. Unlike Virginia, in Massachusetts a male candidate is using the strategy against a female candidate, and it remains to be seen what impact Coakley’s gender and the Brown daughters’ ads will have in the polls that matter on Election Day.

In the meantime, Facebook offers a glimpse into grassroots excitement and momentum behind the opposing campaigns’ women’s outreach efforts. The Facebook group “Women for Brown” has 1,807 members; the “Women for Coakley” fan page, on the other hand, only has 110 members.

Rachel Hoff is a young Republican activist based in Washington, DC. She tweets @rachelhoff814.

About rachelhoff

  • Was brillant IMO.  Who is going to attack two well spoken you ladies?  All the worst the Kool-Aid drinkers can do is make fun of it, but it lowers them.

  • Very impressive support group for Scott and his team.

    Martha keeps helping us.  I have been working on a friend who works in neurosurgical trauma in a big Boston hospital (yeah one of those jobs where hope is very important) and happens to be Catholic and a “progressive”.

    I have been trying to get her to focus on Scott and what he brings to the table.  The radio ad with his daughters got her attention, but the quote from Martha on religion and the emergency room got her mad.  Now she is not only voting for Scott but calling her friends to tell them about the religious quote.

    Thank you Martha.

  • Cook, Rothenberg move Mass. Senate to “toss up”

    In a sign that the Massachusetts special election is moving in state Sen. Scott Brown’s (R) direction, the two leading political handicappers in Washington have moved the contest into their “toss up” category today.

    more at the link


  • Sent his daughters to do fundraisers, which was effective in 2004.  Nice post – are you running for office?

  • Just saw new ad, Victoria Kennedy saying “It’s NOT the Kennedy seat, it’s the PEOPLE’S seat!”.  Boyoboy, talk about playing defense!

  • geo999

    …as much as it was a reaction to the fetid, gutter level tactics of Martha Coakley.

    In any case, Sen. Brown’s campaign responded quickly and appropriately to a hyperbolic smear ad that attempts to prey on the emotions of women who may be less than well informed.

    I like that the Senator has declined to wallow into the muck with Martha.


  • Cross tabs for Suffolk poll show Scott Brown competitive among women – 45% Brown, 50% Coakley