Women in uniform emerge on suburban Philly ballots

Rachel Reddick is seeking the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania's  8th Congressional district (rachelreddick.com).

Rachel Reddick is seeking the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional district (rachelreddick.com).

As Democratic candidates line up to run for the three congressional seats held by Republicans in Philadelphia’s suburbs this year, a trend has emerged.

The Democratic field for each of those races includes a woman with a military or national security background.

Rachel Reddick (above), who’s running in the 8th District in Bucks County is a Navy veteran.

In the 6th District in the western suburbs, Air Force veteran Chrissy Houlahan is a candidate the national Democratic Party is excited about.

And the newest candidate for the 7th District in Delaware County, Shelly Chauncey, spent 15 years in the CIA.

“It’s a profile that I think voters find comforting,” said Mark Nevins, a Democratic strategist and veteran of many congressional campaigns. “Voters appreciate candidates who have a record of service, especially service to the country.”

“In general, there tend to be more men with a military or national security background that run for office than women,” Nevins said, “so women with that profile are unique, and that sets them apart in a crowded primary election field.”

There’s also the fact that more women tend to vote in Democratic primaries than men.

You need more than a profile to win an election, of course. Little things like message, money, organization, and endorsements matter too — not to mention personal charisma and hard work.

But women who have worn a uniform are appealing to party leaders, in part, because it gives them some credibility on national defense.

Expect to see some military imagery when the ads, videos, and mail pieces appear this spring.

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