Interesting forum tonight at Cafe Asia in Arlington on “How to Elect More Women,” organized by the Arlington Young Democrats Women’s Caucus. Participants included Jennifer Boysko, who ran in 2013 and lost to Del. Tom Rust (R-86th) by just 32 votes out of 21,000 cast; Kathleen Murphy, who ran in 2013 and lost to Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34th) by just 422 votes out of 29,544 cast; State Senator Barbara Favola (D-31st); Yasmine Taeb, who was recently a candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 48th district; and State Senator Jennifer Wexton, who won a special election to fill the seat of Mark Herring, who had been elected as Attorney General of Virginia in 2013. Here’s some video from the event. Note that the acoustics in the room were not the greatest, nor was the microphone used by the speakers, and that (unfortunately) reflected in the quality of the recording.
My bottom line takeaways were: 1) many of the lessons for electing women are applicable to electing ANYONE, male or female; 2) there are both advantages (e.g., more women vote; women are perceived as more likely to be running for the “right reasons” and not just power hungry, etc.) and disadvantages (e.g., weak recruitment and developmemnt of female candidates) for women running for elective office; 3) while the number of women holding elective office in this country is increasing, it’s still far lower than women’s share of the population, let alone the electorate; and 4) the Democratic Party most definitely needs to up its game when it comes to recruiting, training, and helping elect strong, qualified female candidates.