IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Ken Buck addresses gender gap

As a Senate candidate in 2010, Colorado's Ken Buck lost women by 16 points. Now in his second attempt, the Republican has a new approach to the gender gap.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck gives his acceptance speech to supporters as his daughter Kaitlin celebrates in Loveland, Colorado, August 10, 2010.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck gives his acceptance speech to supporters as his daughter Kaitlin celebrates in Loveland, Colorado, August 10, 2010.
In one of 2010's most closely watched Senate races, Sen. Michael Bennet (D) narrowly fended off Ken Buck (R), winning by less than 30,000 votes out of over 1.7 million ballots cast. The gender gap in the race was enormous.
According to exit polls, the Republican challenger easily led among men, with whom Buck enjoyed an 11-point advantage, but Bennet prevailed thanks to a 16-point edge among women.
Four years later, Buck is trying again, this time taking on Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), and hopes to address gender issues early on (hat tip, Colorado Pols).

Stephanie Drobny knows how much Ken Buck helped her during a traumatic time in her life in 2008. Drobny now wants to help Buck in his bid to become a U.S. senator. Drobny, 34, of Greeley is sharing her story in a campaign video that Buck released today. Buck, the Weld district attorney and GOP frontrunner to run against Colorado Sen. Mark Udall in the U.S. Senate race, unveiled a two-minute video titled "Ken Cares: Stephanie's Story." Several other videos will be released over the next several weeks and months also showing Buck's support from women.

In the two-minute video, Drobny tells a tragic story about her abusive ex-husband, who also sexually abused her daughter. She then explains that Buck successfully prosecuted the man, who is still behind bars. The video ends with a "Ken cares" tagline.
The candidate told a local paper, "What the Democrats have done to me and to Romney and to dozens of others is to say that because we are pro-life we don't care about women. Nothing can be further from the truth.... What the liberals have done is they have taken one issue and have tried to create a character trait based on that issue and it just isn't true."
What Buck may not fully appreciate is why he struggled with women voters so badly in 2010. To hear the candidate tell it, liberals used his opposition to reproductive rights to drive women away from him. But there's a lot more to it.
As a candidate in 2010, Buck not only called for the elimination of all abortion rights, he said he'd extend that policy to rape and incest victims. He also called for a "personhood" amendment that would, among other things, ban access to common forms of birth control.
During a Republican primary fight against Lt. Gov. Jane Norton, Buck was filmed telling a crowd they should support him over Norton "because I don't wear high heels."
When Buck says he struggled with women voters because "liberals" made a fuss about his position on abortion, he's really only telling part of a larger story.
Indeed, he's arguably still struggling with the issue -- just last month, Buck compared pregnancy to cancer as part of a larger pitch on why he doesn't think a woman should "be in control of her body."
As for his record as a prosecutor, I suspect his handling of a 2005 rape case will also become increasingly relevant as the "Ken cares" campaign unfolds in the coming months.

Three weeks from [2010] Election Day, stories have suddenly emerged about Buck's refusal to follow up on rape allegations involving a University of North Colorado student during his stint as Weld County District Attorney. While other prosecutors have filed criminal charges against alleged rapists in similar cases, Buck declined, claiming insufficient evidence. Renewed criticism has erupted over Buck's handling of the case in light of some of his newly-resurfaced remarks, including a conversation he had with the victim and his suggestion that a jury would view the rape charges as merely her "buyer's remorse." [...] The Huffington Post has obtained the audio of the meeting Buck held with the victim as well as the pertinent police report -- both of which, critics say, make him seem callous and even hostile in dismissing her pleas.

As long-time readers may recall, the story involved a 21-year-old student who had gotten together with a man she used to date. Intoxicated, the young woman invited her alleged attacker to her apartment. She apparently passed out, but woke up to find herself being violated. The attacker conceded to police that the woman had said "no," and the police report added, "[H]e realized he had done something wrong." The same report went on to say he felt "shame and regret" and even tried to "apologize" to the victim.
Buck decided not to prosecute. In his conversation with the victim, in which Buck was recorded without his knowledge, he argued, "It appears to me and it appears to others that you invited him over to have sex with him."
"What the liberals have done is they have taken one issue"? It would appear abortion rights isn't the only issue.