A congressman urged his mistress to get an abortion. Another offered his aide $5 million to be a surrogate mother. A state assemblyman allegedly followed a lobbyist into a bathroom and exposed himself to her.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that, today, none of these men hold office. All were forced to resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct, and now a new crop of candidates is jockeying to fill the void.
The New York Times has dubbed the unusually high number of special elections on the horizon due to sexual misconduct the #MeToo Races. The fact that all of these vacancies have occurred at once and for the more or less the same reason is virtually unprecedented. As the Times points out, vacancies usually arise when a politician moves on to a better posting, retires or dies.
But as the #MeToo movement has leaped the barrier between Hollywood and politics (it’s a pretty low wall, at times), men with wandering eyes and busy hands are being held accountable, and they’re leaving a gap to be filled.
So how do you run a campaign when the person you’re replacing left amid sexual scandal? Very carefully, apparently. According to the Times, most candidates have found that avoiding the subject almost completely seems to be the best approach.
Candidates say they find that constituents are more interested in discussing other important issues, rather than dwelling on the misdeeds of the departed. Some candidates said they encountered people who still didn’t believe the allegations — another reason to avoid the topic.
So is a sexual scandal enough to turn a red seat blue, or vice versa? Apparently not. According to the Times, these types of vacancies are generally filled by someone from the same party as the person who vacated it. In fact, some new candidates have actually received endorsements from the disgraced politicians they are attempting to replace, which, if you think about it, is totally insane.
So while most candidates tiptoe around the issue, there are a precious few who are going for it whole-hog, like Michigan Attorney General Candidate Dana Nessel, who in an ad released last November, asked a question you’ll have to see for yourself.
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