Colorado senate candidate Ken Buck has been trying to soften his stances on abortion and reproductive rights as election day draws nearer, but as more information on the candidate’s disregard for women surfaces, he may never be able to regain his ground.
His reproductive issues stances, from eliminating abortion in almost all cases, including rape and incest, to advocating for the Colorado’s Amendment 62, the so-called “Personhood” amendment (which would define a fertilized egg as a person), has hurt him badly with female voters, and his opponent, Sen. Michael Bennet is cashing in on the issue, according to Colorado’s Greeley Tribune:
Longtime Greeley resident Julie Shade likes Senate candidate Ken Buck, but she doesn’t plan to vote for him.
His stance on abortion — he’s against it, even in the case of rape or incest — turns her off.
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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“It’s an important enough issue for me, that if that’s his stance, I cannot vote for him,” she said.
Despite an election cycle where concerns about the economy and government spending have dominated public opinion, abortion has taken on greater importance in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race as incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. has sought to maximize his advantage among women voters. A Denver Post-9News poll done in conjunction with The Tribune and released last week shows Buck trailing among women 49 percent to 44 percent.
Shade, 73, was a Republican until she dropped her party affiliation in the mid-2000s because of concerns about what she said is the party’s ever-increasing social conservatism. She admits that even when she was a registered Republican, she was more socially liberal than many of her party colleagues. She said the party has squeezed out moderates.
“I don’t want to lay it just on Buck, because what’s happened this year is several other candidates are saying they feel this way, including women,” she said. “I want to be fair to Ken because I think running for office is a very arduous task.”
Shade said she respects people who believe strongly that life begins at conception, but she thinks it shouldn’t be a political issue.
“There’s something so insulting, as a woman, to feel that anybody thinks that they have a right to intrude on such a personal, private, heart-breaking matter, but particularly in the instance of incest or rape,” she said. “This issue is very, very important. Anybody who chooses to take that stance is somebody I disagree with, male or female.”
Newsblaze believes that the erosion of female support for Buck as the campaign wraps up could be the key factor to what they predict will be an eventual loss for the Tea Party candidate.
[W]omen voters will play a large role in the outcome of the election in Colorado. Statistics are showing a 16 percentage point gender gap in support of Bennet by women, however, men tend to favor Buck by 15 percentage points. As more women see this abortion ad and realize Buck’s stance on abortion (such as his flip-flop on Amendment 62), Bennet will gain ground in the polls.
And Buck’s standing with women could be hurt even further now with reports that he refused to prosecute a rape case, instead blaming the victim and calling it a likely case of “buyer’s remorse.” The Colorado Independent reports:
With any other victim, this case may have ended when Buck refused to charge the man with a crime.
This victim, though, has worked as a rape victims’ advocate, and she refused to let the matter drop. When her meeting with Buck got her nowhere, she organized a protest rally at the DA’s office. She spoke with the media. Buck was forced to respond.
He said the facts in the case didn’t warrant prosecution. “A jury could very well conclude that this is a case of buyer’s remorse,” he told the Greeley Tribune in March 2006. He went on to publicly call the facts in the case “pitiful.”
If he had handled it with a little more sensitivity, the victim, who does not want her name used, says it is possible she may have accepted the decision and moved on. But Buck’s words — as much as his refusal to prosecute — still burn in her ears.
“That comment made me feel horrible,” she told the Colorado Independent last week. “The offender admitted he did it, but Ken Buck said I was to blame. Had he (Buck) not attacked me, I might have let it go. But he put the blame on me, and I was furious. I still am furious,” she said.
It wasn’t just his public remarks that infuriated the woman. In the private meeting, which she recorded, he told her, “It appears to me … that you invited him over to have sex with him.”
He also said he thought she might have a motive to file rape charges as a way of retaliating against the man for some ill will left over from when they had been lovers more than a year earlier. Buck also comes off on this tape as being at least as concerned with the woman’s sexual history and alcohol consumption as he is with other facts of the case.
Buck’s past has made it quite clear his views on women, from blaming victims to forcing them to carry unwanted pregnancies. Should Bennet’s campaign continue to capitalize on these revelations, there is no doubt Buck’s female support will continue to erode.