GOP Rep. Michelle Steel wins reelection after campaign marked by charges of red-baiting, racism and sexism
The first time I watched her debate with Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff, it was in Washington
So much for the stereotype about suburban moms.
She stood out from the pack as a woman of color, for example, in a mostly white male world.
A black woman with a woman’s name and an Afro was an unknown entity in a district with a majority of white men, many of them Republican.
She was also the Democrat who, after her family moved to a suburb of Atlanta, became a target of the GOP’s Republican base after an ad claimed the woman was paid to lie about her experience with child care in the district.
“I’m not a liar,” she shot back. “I was not asked to lie about anything.”
The ad was later retracted by the conservative group it was created to attack, the Club for Growth, whose vice president later apologized to Steel, but which she says wasn’t a problem in this red district.
Even her former poll worker admitted that Republicans in the district’s heavily Republican area — where she won by 21 percentage points — still “took pleasure” in attacking the woman who was once an easy target.
In her speech announcing her reelection victory this week, she spoke about the importance of bringing diverse voices to the table in the United States. She also cited a history of her district being represented by a “three-headed Republican family.”
“I stand before you as a black woman representing a district where white Republicans like to talk about how they will keep us in the wilderness,” she said. “They will destroy the party because they have no interest in supporting women in the workplace or the military or the poor, or anyone who is not white.”
Steel is the daughter of former Georgia State Sen. Lee Steel, who became majority leader in the House.
The son of a state legislator and a state legislator, she became Georgia’s first black woman elected to the state Senate in 2016 when she won a special election after former Rep. John Lewis, who had been in the top ranks of the Democratic Party, had died.