Last March, the Barbara Lee Family Foundation released a study that found that voters still struggle to believe women can effectively balance the duties of being an elected official while managing their own families. For the record, it’s not something male candidates are often questioned about.
Among the record-breaking numbers of women running for office this election, many first-time candidates are showing they’re not worried about those concerns. Instead, they’re taking their daughters with them to the polls as they vote for themselves. (In fact, some of their campaign managers, all women, have been sharing some of the photos in a group text.)
In New York, Liuba Grechen Shirley is the Democratic nominee in the 2nd congressional district. (Her opponent has held his seat for 25 years.) She shared a photo on social media of her and her daughter Mila as they voted together this morning. Grechen Shirley tweeted: “It’s bring your daughter to vote day!”
"Mila has been on the campaign trail with me since day one—at campaign rallies, debate prep, and volunteer kick-offs,” Grechen Shirley tells Broadly via email. “Now when we get to an event she runs right up to the podium and expects me to speak—because for her, moms running for office is second nature. I started this campaign with Mila by my side. I can't imagine heading to the polls without her."
Lauren Baer, who’s running for Congress in Florida’s 18th District, has made it clear that she’s in this race for her daughter, who was born two weeks before Donald Trump won the presidential election in 2016. If Baer wins, she’ll be the first openly gay congressperson from Florida, and the first representative to be in a same-sex marriage with a child. This morning she shared a photo featuring her and her romper-clad toddler with the caption, “I voted for my daughter and all our kids' futures.”
Elaine Luria, who’s hoping to represent Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, retweeted a short video showing her entering her polling place alongside her daughter. She also wrote: “This morning I cast my ballot alongside my family. Today, change is on the ballot. Healthcare is on the ballot. Civil rights is on the ballot. And our children’s future is on the line.”
In Illinois, congressional candidate Betsy Dirksen Londrigan and mom of three cast her ballot alongside her teenage daughter. The former teacher and entrepreneur—whose first line of her bio reads: “I’m not a politician”—is running in the 13th district.
Meanwhile, Caitlin Clarkson Pereira, who hopes to unseat a four-term Republican and represent the 132nd District in Connecticut, summed up on Facebook why running for office as a mother has meant so much. Alongside a photo she shared of her casting her ballot this morning with her daughter, she wrote: “Voting for yourself is exhilarating. Voting for yourself with your daughter on your lap, reminding her that one day her name can be on the ballot, too, is indescribable.”