HD-164: National Organization for Women Endorses Billy Smith


Democratic challenger Billy Smith got a serious boost today when a national women’s-rights organization backed him over incumbent Rep. Margo Davidson (D-Delaware).

The National Organization for Women announced their endorsement for Smith, declaring him a champion of pro-women causes.

“Pennsylvania NOW endorses the candidates we know will fight for the women of the Commonwealth every time.  In this race, that’s Billy Smith,” said a statement included with the endorsement announcement.

Pennsylvania NOW does not actually have a local chapter within the district (there is one nearby in Montgomery County). As far as women’s organizations in the district go, Delaware County Women’s Democratic Club endorsed Davidson earlier in the primary season.

In any case, it’s particularly unusual for NOW to endorse a man over a woman, particularly in a Democratic primary. So rare, in fact, that NOW was unable to produce another example besides Pennsylvania House District 164.

“Margo Davidson must begin to answer the question: Why are women abandoning her campaign?,” a press release from the Smith campaign reads. “ The next two months  will continue to show a complete erosion of women support for Margo Davidson’s campaign; her hostile votes to close abortion clinics and drain money from public schools have alienated progressive women in the 164th and has resulted in a surge of support for Billy Smith from progressive women’s organizations who recognize his unequivocal commitment to women’s rights.”

The “hostile vote” mentioned is from 2011, when Davidson supported a bill that increased restrictions on clinics that provided abortions. She was given much kudos from anti-abortion groups, but alienated some of her more progressive colleagues.

“Women are overwhelmingly supporting my campaign. According to our latest polling among women voters I am leading more than 5 to 1. (54% for Davidson, 11% for Smith with 35% undecided),” Davidson responded to the NOW endorsement.  “As the first woman elected to my district ever and recently endorsed by the Delaware County Democratic Party and the Women’s Democratic Club of Delaware County, I know where the women in my district stand and that is with me. My record fighting to end gender pay gaps, to promote job creation and economic justice for women while promoting women and diversity for leadership roles will not change and there is no endorsement that will change these facts.”

In the poll executed by Municipoll and mentioned by Davidson, 31% were still undecided on their choice in the Democratic primary, as of mid-February.

12 Responses

  1. So the so-called “pro-women’s” and “women’s rights” group endorses the man in the race against the woman? Too bad they see aborting children as the litmus test of what defines women.

  2. UDBlue. You state that you believe that NOW has no members in Delaware County. That is absolutely not true.
    We don’t have a local chapter in Delaware County, but we DO have plenty of at-large members who are members of both Pennsylvania NOW and National NOW.

    If anyone is interested in starting a local NOW chapter in Delaware County (or elsewhere in the state), please contact us at PennsylvaniaNOW@gmail.com. You can find out more info about NOW at http://panow.org.

  3. delco observer and UDBlue-

    “Real” Democrat means the candidate who does/would most consistently support core Dem party values. So, yes, that does mean liberal.

    It means: pro-choice, pro-gay-marriage, gun-control, equal-pay, raising minimum wage, funding PUBLIC education, supporting public transportation, environmental protections, etc.

    Conserva-Dems are not considered the “real” Dems in a primary. They are Dems that the party will tolerate when they have no other viable alternatives.

    Please use these definitions as you continue the debate. 🙂

  4. For those unfamiliar, Margo’s seat was considered a Republican seat until she won it. Until election day no one believed she would win except the REAL Democrats in the district who helped her and support her to this day.

  5. I imagine the “Real” part has something to do with the perception that the current Rep duped Democrats in 2010 to get the seat and then voted against the interests of the people and organizations that helped her get elected…

  6. What is the significance of an endorsement by an organization that doesn’t have any members in the district? Zero significance, right?

  7. I do not understand…I keep hearing this talk that Smith and his supporters have proclaimed him as the REAL Democrat…what does that mean? Who other than he or his supporters are the judge of that? Look, Smith comes from Lansdowne, which made up only 42% of the primary electorate in the last even two even year elections (’10 and ’12), and is comprised predominantly of what some would call uber liberals. The remainder of the district is not that way. Some of the commenters here seem to be operating under that misconception….or is it just that these commenters and Mr. Smith and his supporters have bought into a story line being sold by someone who is a failed candidate himself that is no longer an elected official in the state legislature and can’t get himself elected there again?
    In any event, there is a time and a place for everything. Unfortunately for Mr. Smith and his group of self-proclaimed arbiters of who is a “real Democrat” or “Democrat-enough” this year presents neither the place nor the time.

  8. B.J…… Dave is correct—vouchers and charters are a complete scam. Read Diane Ravitch’s Reign of Error.

  9. B.J.-

    The voucher and charter school system is mostly a scam. It generally favors/promotes profiteering. For the well off, it’s a taxpayer discount/subsidy for their kids to attend private schools that are unaffordable to the poor/minority kids even with a voucher.

    The voucher system was designed to promote and reward segregation by pretending it was the opposite.

  10. Ron – You’ll notice quite a few Democrats representing poorer areas who support vouchers. The reason is pretty simple: vouchers would help their constituents. I know it’s rare to see a politician voting to help their constituents rather than special interests like PSEA, but it still happens sometimes.

  11. It appears Billy Smith is the REAL Democrat in this race. Good for NOW to endorse him. Just because someone is a woman, does not make them correct on the issues. Remember Margaret Thatcher!!! What kind of Democrat is Davidson to be supporting vouchers? Hope PSEA is onto this race. Davidson has to go. Democrats are supposed to have a philosophy–Republicans certainly have one which they all follow. Davidson should consider becoming a Republican.

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