Steve Rowe and the Women Vote

Former Senate President Beth Edmonds has released a statement asking for contributions to the Steven Rowe campaign. Beth Edmonds served four terms in the State Senate and was elected Senate President in 2003, making her the second woman to serve in that position.  Environmental groups, LGBT rights groups, labor, and educational groups supported Edmonds in her 2006 run for senate, which she won. Edmonds also has been involved with the National Organization for Women.

Why is this important? Edmonds has been a Rowe supporter since August. Well, look who is running for the Democratic nomination: Donna Dion, Dawn Hill, Libby Mitchell, Rosa Scarcelli, and Steven Rowe. The Democratic field is packed with female candidates this election. Mitchell and Scarcelli, especially, are serious contenders for the Democratic nomination regardless of their gender. There are other factors that have likely caught Rowe’s attention. In the 2006 gubernatorial election 42% of Governor Baldacci’s votes came from women. 34% of female voters cast their votes for Pat LaMarche (12%) and Barbara Merrill (22%). Women made up 54% of all Maine voters in 2008, and an even higher percentage of Democratic primary voters.

In the presidential election Maine women strongly supported Obama with 64%. Female voters also supported Susan Collins in 2008 (59%) but not as strongly as men (63%). Women in Maine vote in stronger numbers than men, and tend to vote for Democrats more.

The Rowe campaign has foreseen the challenge before them: how to attract female voters to the campaign in a field full of women. Rowe’s campaign website has a section especially for women voters. “Women Rowe-ing” is a wing of the Rowe campaign dedicated to bringing women to the Rowe camp. “As we all know,” says the website, “Steve needs strong support from women to win this race.” Rowe has also been contacting women known to stump for Maine Democrats in the past to gather their support as well.

This is a calculated strategy by the Rowe campaign. Will it steal female support away from Rowe’s strongest competition, Mitchell and Scarcelli? Will Mitchell and Scarcelli likewise court female voters? Perhaps Mainers will look past gender to credentials and the candidates’ plans for the state.

UPDATE: Rosa Scarcelli will be continuing her listening tour over the next coming weeks.  Three “Breakfast of Champions” meetings will be sponsored by the Maine Women’s Policy Center.

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