Barnes shifts attack to woo women

By: SHANNON McCAFFREY Associated Press 10/18/10 6:30 PM EDT DECATUR, GA. — After weeks of…

Georgia (Oct 19, 2010)

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Associated Press
10/18/10 6:30 PM EDT

DECATUR, GA. — After weeks of assailing Republican Nathan Deal's ethics and finances, Democrat Roy Barnes has shifted to an effort to woo women voters by attacking Deal's decades-old record on rape shield laws and domestic violence.

Barnes has unveiled a new television ad that takes aim at Deal for working to weaken Georgia's rape shield law while in the state Senate. And in a news conference Monday, Barnes ripped into several votes Deal made more than two decades ago against protections for victims of domestic violence.

Barnes on Monday accused Deal of "an insensitivity toward the safety of women."

"This is a pattern," Barnes said, surrounded by rape and domestic violence advocates at a news conference in front of a DeKalb County rape crisis center on Monday. He acknowledged that picking up women's votes will be critical to winning on Election Day.

"But I think rape and domestic violence is something that concerns us all," he said.

The Deal camp has called the attacks "despicable."

"Nathan supported the 2005 renewal of the Violence Against Women Act. He's got a tough-on-crime record while Barnes has an anything-for-a-dime record," Deal spokesman Brian Robinson said, referring to Barnes' record as a trial lawyer.

The Deal campaign declined to make the former congressman available to talk about the legislation.

The increased focus on women voters is no surprise.

Kennesaw State University Kerwin Swint said, nationally, women turn out in greater numbers than men at the polls. And he suggested white women, in particular, tend to be less partisan than their male counterparts.

Barnes' rape shield ad — with its Volvo station wagon and ominous car alarm — seems aimed at "middle-aged, higher income white women," Swint said.


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