By Cynthia Richie on May 04, 2018
Republican Debbie Lesko won the House special election in Arizona Tuesday night, holding off a closer-than-expected Democratic challenge in a district that President Donald Trump won by 21 points in 2016.
Lesko had 53 percent of the vote when The Associated Press called the race an hour after the polls closed, with over 155,000 early votes tallied. Democrat Hiral Tipirneni had 47 percent of the vote.
But Lesko’s single-digit margin is the latest evidence that Republicans face a punishing midterm environment, even in Trump-friendly territory. Lesko’s victory comes on the heels of losses for Republicans in southwestern Pennsylvania, where Democratic Rep. Conor Lamb beat Republican Rick Saccone in a district that backed Trump by nearly 20 points in 2016, and in Alabama, where Democrat Doug Jones defeated Republican Roy Moore last year. In many other special elections that Democrats have lost, the vote has shifted sharply in their direction compared to the 2016 presidential results.
A recent bill was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives modifying the way that sexual harassment cases are handled on Capitol Hill. The proposed bill would change many of the procedures that are currently in place under the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995. Per the 1995 act, victims are required to attend counseling for months before they are able to file a formal complaint about their sexual harassment.
The new bill would change this mandatory meditation period, allowing victims to take action as soon as they have experienced an incident of harassment or assault. Additionally, current victims of sexual harassment or assault do not have easy access to the resources they may need to receive fair representation.(1) The new bill provides victims with legal representation once a complaint has been filed. Finally, the new bill holds the sexual harasser accountable by using his or her own funds to pay the settlement. This differs from the current act in which the accused can use taxpayer dollars to pay sexual harassment settlements. Now, the person accused of sexual harassment is required to reimburse the U.S. treasury within 90 days, or their wages would be garnished.(2)
The big story this week in the United States is the record number of women running for the House of Representatives in 2018 - so far. Read CAWP's press release for more details. While it's fabulous that so many women are declaring their intention to run it's also important to keep this news in perspective:
There was a fascinating story in Civil Georgia about the defeat of proposed gender quota legislation in Georgia which had the support of the prime minister, many members of parliament and civil society groups. I will include the entire article because I think it's so important to appreciate how much more advanced the conversation about parity is outside of our borders:
The Parliament of Georgia has voted down today the legislative proposal which was to set mandatory quotas for women to help increase their representation in the Parliament and Sakrebulos (municipality councils).Read more
There was a piece by Lindsay Miller in Pop Sugar about Deb Haaland who could become the first native American woman to serve in Congress:
Deb Haaland stands to make history. If the New Mexico Democrat's campaign is successful, the single mom could become the only Native American woman to ever serve in the United States Congress.
A citizen of the Laguna Pueblo nation, Haaland grew up the daughter of military parents. She went on to put herself through college and law school at the University of Mexico, often scraping by on food stamps and student loans to get by. In 2008, she worked the phones as a full-time volunteer for Barack Obama's 2008 campaign. Four years later, she was back on team Obama for his reelection campaign — this time as the Native American vote director. That experience encouraged Haaland, now 57, to step into the political foreground and run for Lieutenant Governor in 2014.
Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to attend Running Start’s 12th Annual Women to Watch Awards with my colleagues at RepresentWomen and FairVote. Running Start is a national nonprofit that works to inspire and train the next generation of young women political leaders. It was inspiring to be in the room with young women from all backgrounds and political affiliations determined to create change in our world and challenge what it means to look like a politician.
At the event, seven alumnae of Running Start’s programs competed to be the organization’s “#ILookLikeAPolitician Ambassador.” The selected woman would become the spokesperson for Running Start. Throughout the night each candidate gave a campaign speech. At the end of the evening attendees voted for the organization’s next ambassador using ranked choice voting.Read more