Republican senatorial candidates are running television ads aimed at women voters touting the GOP's support for over-the-counter birth control pills, in an effort aimed at bolstering the party's prospects of capturing the U.S. Senate in November, The Wall Street Journal reported
Polls show that women tend to support a Democratic-controlled Congress by 14 percentage points in contrast to men who favor Republican control by 17 points. Party strategists have identified ideas that could help the GOP enhance its position among women. Republican control of the Senate may depend on how well their women-oriented policies are received.
An ad featuring Rep. Cory Gardner
, who is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall in Colorado, shows him talking about the sale of birth control pills without a prescription to an audience that includes women nodding in approval, the Journal reported.
Udall said he is not opposed to the idea so long as insurance companies remain responsible for covering the cost.
GOP Senate candidates Ed Gillespie and House candidate Barbara Comstock in Virginia and Mike McFadden in Minnesota are also promoting their support of selling birth control pills without a prescription. Louisiana Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal was among the first to suggest the idea, according to the Journal.
In Alaska, where the GOP's Dan Sullivan is challenging Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Begich, the GOP is running an ad charging Begich pays men on his staff more than women. A Begich spokesman said that the difference has to do with responsibilities not gender.
Terri Lynn, the GOP senatorial candidate in Michigan, similarly accused Democrat Gary Peters of not paying women on his staff as much as men.
Republicans want to draw the focus away from controversial social issues toward the economy where they think women worry more than men.
GOP consultant Rob Jesmer says his party will not cede the support of women to the Democrats. "If the GOP fights women to a draw, we are going to win in a lot of places," the Journal reported.
Democrats say Republicans are making essentially superficial fixes in their positions.
"Voters are too smart to fall for these false tactics," said Emily's List spokeswoman Marcy Stech. "Republicans know they have this problem, and they keep thinking the fix to their problem is a cosmetic one," according to the Journal.
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