— From NBC's Mark Murray
In 1992, more than two dozen women -- most of them Democrats -- were newly elected to the House and Senate. That feat led to scores of news articles dubbing the election as the "Year of the Woman." This year, Emily's List, the Democratic group that promotes pro-choice female candidates, is arguing that the 14 female Democrats who are running for some of the most vulnerable GOP-held House seats in the country could be one of the keys to whether Democrats net the 15 seats needed to take back control of Congress. And this morning, Emily's List released polls suggesting that five of these candidates are in solid position to win their races.
Per these polls, Gabrielle Giffords (D) is leading Randy Graf (R), 54%-29%, in Arizona; Iraq war vet Tammy Duckworth (D) is tied, 41%-41%, with Peter Roskam (R) in Illinois; Patty Wetterling (D) is down three points (but within the margin of error) to Michele Bachmann (R) in Minnesota; Darcy Burner (D) is nearly even with Rep. Dave Reichert (R) in Washington; and the same is true for Mary Jo Kilroy (D) in her race against Rep. Deborah Pryce (R). Emily's List president Ellen Malcolm said in a conference call that these polls were taken after September 11, when national surveys began to show an uptick in President Bush's approval rating. While Bush might be experiencing a bump, she noted, "it is not helping these [Republican] candidates. They are not moving up."
Although not disputing the poll numbers, House GOP campaign committee spokesman Carl Forti questions how many of these candidates will win in November. "I'm sure Emily's List will have the same kind of success with their candidates that they had in 2004," he tells First Read, referring to the Democrats' numerous losses that year.