Since President Trump took office, thousands of Ohio women have taken to the White House and the Statehouse, advocating for abortion rights and equal pay and lambasting what they see as misogyny in government policies and saying they'll "remember in November”. The Statehouse News Bureau breaks down what the two major party candidates are doing to win women's votes.
It was a cold January day in 2017 when hundreds of women of all ages marched to the Statehouse, carrying signs and demanding change. They weren’t alone. Women throughout the state did the same in their communities. And they did it again in January of this year.
Since then, many have been motivated by the "Me Too" movement and the contentious Supreme Court battle over new Justice Brett Kavanaugh in the face of sexual assault allegations.
Women's enthusiasm may be high for November, but there are still no women leading either major party's ticket for governor. Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor lost in a landslide to Attorney General Mike DeWine in the Republican primary. On the Democratic side, all three women running for governor dropped out before the primary. Eventually, Betty Sutton joined the Cordray campaign as his running mate.
“In a Cordray administration, there will be strong women in positions of important leadership in building and earning that record and visibility so they will be our political leaders of the future," Cordray says.
Sutton says that’s not rhetoric.
“Rich and I believe strongly that women should play an equal role in every aspect of society and that is what our administration will reflect. That means insuring that women get equal pay for equal work. It means making sure women are able to make decisions about their own health and their own lives," Sutton says.
Cordray favors abortion rights. And together, Cordray and Sutton plan to create the Ohio Commission on Women and Girls, a panel they say will make sure women have a seat at the table when it comes to state laws and policies.
“Rich and I are going to end that war on women’s rights at home and in the workplace," Sutton says.
“Women are safer because of Mike DeWine. Mike DeWine, to me, is my savior.”
That's a clip from one of Mike DeWine's ads, a Cleveland area rape victim says "women are safer because of Mike DeWine." She refers to DeWine as "my savior" while talking how his office processed a backlog of rape kits sitting in county level police agencies throughout the state.
DeWine offered to have the Bureau of Criminal Investigation test those kits. It’s a talking point he makes over and over again in stump speeches and in debates with Cordray. “We ended up testing 12,000 that were out there when you should have tested them. We tested them because it was the right thing to do because women needed that to have done," DeWine says.
DeWine’s wife, Fran, is touring throughout the state, talking to women as part of what’s being billed the “Getting to the Heart of it All” tour.
“What we talk about is how we make our families safer and what’s good for Ohio families because, you know, I think that’s what women want to hear about. You know, women are predominately who watch the children and keep the homes together so they want to talk about what’s good for families," Fran DeWine says.
Mrs. DeWine says that’s not to say her husband believes women should stay home and out of the workplace.
“He’s always had women run his offices. When he was in the U.S. Senate, it was women who were his chief of staff and his top people. In the attorney general’s office, it’s a woman who is the chief of staff," Mrs. DeWine says.
However they choose to appeal to women, winning their support in November is critical. U.S. Census data show about 52 percent of registered voters in Ohio are women.