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PAC targets politicians it says act against women’s interest

September 24, 2018

FILE - In this June 6, 2018, file photo Stanford law professor Michele Dauber poses for a portrait on Stanford University's campus in Stanford, Calif. Dauber, who spearheaded a California judge's recall over his handling of a sexual assault case, is launching a political action committee to target politicians who commit or ignore sexual misconduct. Monday, Sept. 24, 2018, Dauber, launched a PAC to target politicians across the country who don't take violence against women seriously or who have committed sexual misconduct themselves. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

The Stanford University law professor who led the successful recall of a California judge over his handling of a sexual assault case announced Monday that she is broadening her fight to target politicians.

Michele Dauber said the Enough is Enough Voter Project will raise money to campaign against candidates for state legislature or Congress. It will target those who have been accused of sexual misconduct or who the group believes have a poor voting record on issues related to sexual harassment and violence against women.

“Women are saying no abusers in office, no abusers on the Supreme Court, no abusers in the state legislature,” Dauber said. “Those who enable them, who apologize for them, who excuse them can also be targeted.”

The political action committee is trying to raise at least $250,000 to target a handful of candidates in this year’s midterms, all Republicans. That led some of the targeted politicians to say Dauber’s group is merely a partisan effort.

Steve Von Loor, a candidate for North Carolina’s 4th Congressional District, is one of five candidates listed on the PAC’s website. His ex-wife made domestic abuse allegations against him in 2010, claims Van Loor has denied.

“It looks like they are Democrats, and the hypocrisy is so big that they don’t see their own candidates,” said Von Loor said, citing the candidacy of U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, a Democrat who is running for Minnesota attorney general amid an allegation of domestic abuse from an ex-girlfriend.

California state Assemblyman Devon Mathis is another Republican listed on the group’s website. He was required to participate in sensitivity and sexual harassment training after an investigation found he had frequently engaged in sexual “locker room talk.”

In a statement, Mathis said his conduct was far less egregious than that of some Democratic lawmakers. He called the PAC a “liberal political smear organization.”

“There have been a number of sexual misconduct investigations on Democrats throughout California, let alone the United States, and I don’t see any of them being targeted,” he said.

Dauber said the group plans to remain active through the 2020 elections, including the possibility of targeting Democratic incumbents in their primaries.

“Democrats who engage in this behavior should not think they are safe from being targeted,” she said.

Even amid the momentum of the #MeToo movement, voters have yet to arrive at a consensus on whether allegations of sexual misconduct are a disqualifier for political office, particularly at the state level.

At least 28 state lawmakers who have been accused of misconduct ran for re-election or another office this year, according to data collected by The Associated Press. Of those, 16 advanced to the Nov. 6 general election.

Of those appearing on the ballot in November, 10 are Republicans and six are Democrats, according to the AP analysis.

Dauber led a campaign that ended with voters ousting former Santa Clara County Judge Aaron Persky, who had given a six-month sentence to a former Stanford swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious, intoxicated woman outside a fraternity party.

The Enough is Enough PAC includes many of the women who were involved in that recall as well as some national women’s groups.

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