Nessel says female presidential hopefuls are snagging more attention

    Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (left) and Kamala Harris (right) | Andrew Roth photos

    At an April event for women in politics, Attorney General Dana Nessel didn’t hold back her criticism that the six women running for president are getting short shrift.

    “I have been a little bit dismayed at the fact that all I seem to see … nationally, whether it is on my social media, Twitter or Facebook accounts or whether it is on MSNBC or CNN or other news programs, are the male white candidates,” she said at the Women Organize Michigan (WOM) conference. “And while I think they are excellent candidates, and again, would make incredible presidents in the event that they are nominated by our party and hopefully elected, I would really like to see the incredible women [running].”

    Nessel: 2020 female presidential contenders are getting short shrift

    The Democratic women running are: U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), author Marianne Williamson, U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). All but Gabbard have visited Michigan.

    The Advance asked Nessel in an interview last month on Mackinac Island if she feels coverage of female hopefuls has improved.

    “I think it’s gotten a little better since I’ve made those statements,” she said. “I know I’ve seen a lot more of Elizabeth Warren. They’ve done a good job of promoting many of her many, many, many plans. And you know, I think that Sen. Harris has gotten a little bit more equal time than I’ve seen in the past.”

    As the Advance reported, the three candidates Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has met with in person are all women: Gillibrand, along with Nessel; Harris; and Klobuchar. The governor also has talked with several of the 14 other Dems who have stumped here.

    Whitmer: Still no interest in VP, why she’s met with female presidential candidates

    There are 24 Democrats running right now. Nessel said she is “just so impressed with so many of them,” but joked that she’s “lost track at this point” of the number of contenders.

    Nessel spokeswoman Kelly Rossman-McKinney added that “the number of women candidates has kind of remained static from that early [time], and the number of male candidates have expanded exponentially, so the coverage has probably metered out a little bit.”

    The AG reiterated something she said at the April conference, “I love watching a lot of them in action. And I can tell you that whoever it is, I’m going to be behind them 100%.”

    Susan J. Demas is a 19-year journalism veteran and one of the state’s foremost experts on Michigan politics, appearing on MSNBC, CNN, NPR and WKAR-TV’s “Off the Record.” In addition to serving as Editor-in-Chief, she is the Advance’s chief columnist, writing on women, LGBTQs, the state budget, the economy and more. Most recently, she served as Vice President of Farough & Associates, Michigan’s premier political communications firm. For almost five years, Susan was the Editor and Publisher of Inside Michigan Politics, the most-cited political newsletter in the state. Susan’s award-winning political analysis has run in more than 80 national, international and regional media outlets, including the Guardian U.K., NBC News, the New York Times, the Detroit News and MLive. She is the only Michigan journalist to be named to the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Reporters,” the Huffington Post’s list of “Best Political Tweeters” and the Washington Post’s list of “Best Political Bloggers.” Susan was the recipient of a prestigious Knight Foundation fellowship in nonprofits and politics. She served as Deputy Editor for MIRS News and helped launch the Michigan Truth Squad, the Center for Michigan’s fact-checking project. She started her journalism career reporting on the Iowa caucuses for The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette. Susan has hiked over 3,000 solo miles across four continents and climbed more than 60 mountains. She also enjoys dragging her husband and two teenagers along, even if no one else wants to sleep in a tent anymore.


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