Turning Women Voters Against Ken Buck

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A new ad in the Colorado Senate race targets women voters by painting Republican candidate Ken Buck as sexist and dismissive of women's rights. The ad, sponsored by the Women's Voices. Women Vote Action Fund, highlights his "high heels" gaffe from the primary--when he told voters they should vote for him over rival Jane Norton because "I do not wear high heels"--as well as a potentially more incriminating incident from his tenure as Weld County district attorney.

In 2005, as district attorney Buck declined to prosecute an admitted rapist because he thought the victim's accusation would not stand up in court (she had invited the man in question, a former lover, over to her apartment the night of the alleged rape). After her conversation with Buck, which she surreptitiously (but legally, according to the Colorado Independent) taped, the victim organized a protest outside the DA's office. Buck's comment to a newspaper that she probably just had "buyer's remorse" left her so angry that she's been giving interviews about her experience now that Buck is running for Senate. She's released the tape of her original conversation with Buck, in which he comes off as condescending and moralizing.

The ad below recalls both the "high heels" and the prosecution incidents, as well as Buck's opposition to abortion rights even in cases of rape or incest. It ends with the exhortation, "We need leaders who will stand with us, whether we're in high heels or cowboy boots." Talking Points Memo reports that the total ad buy is in the "high six figures" and will run through election day. 



Democrats have been using this tactic in several races in the West. The Service Employees International Union issued an ad attacking Nevada's Sharron Angle for promoting policies that penalize women. President Obama hit Washington and California to stump for Democratic senators Patty Murray and Barbara Boxer by highlighting how his administration's policies have benefited women economically.

Women voters tend to vote disproportionally for Democrats, so in a year in which the biggest threat for Democrats is low turnout, drawing stark gender lines between the two parties is a smart approach.  

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Nicole Allan is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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