DENVER Republican Jane Norton says the GOP, not just her male opponent in Colorados Senate Republican primary, has some work to do promoting women.
Norton vowed Friday to be one of the most conservative women in the Senate if elected and said her party hasnt done a great job in the past of promoting women.
The party could do a better job promoting women, Norton said Friday after a debate with her opponent in Colorados Aug. 10 primary, Ken Buck. She added, Its changing, and this is a good year for it.
Earlier, Norton played host to a breakfast with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a conservative who blasted his party for not promoting conservative women.
Santorum told a group of Republicans that its important to our movement to see more female conservatives in office.
The bottom line is, we have not in the Republican Party done a good job electing conservative Republican women to the United States Senate, Santorum said.
Norton pointed out to a reporter that the Senate has only four Republican women, no real conservatives among them. She later said shed be one of the most conservative women in the Senate if elected.
Colorados Republican Senate race has turned into a gender battle in its closing days. Last week, Norton aired a television ad blasting independent advocacy groups for taking out attack ads against her, not Buck himself.
Youd think Ken would be man enough to do himself, Norton said.
Then, after a video spread showing Buck telling a Republican voter to choose him because I do not wear high heels, Nortons camp aired the remark in another commercial.
Early in the campaign, Norton pointed out frequently that shed be Colorados first female senator if elected and argued that shed be better than Buck at appealing to female voters.
Other female Republicans in Colorado rallied for Norton on Friday at the historic home of Colorados first woman politician, Titanic survivor Unsinkable Molly Brown.
Brown was a prominent backer of womens suffrage and ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate twice, in 1909 and 1914.
Attending that rally was the only female Republican in the Colorado Senate, Sen. Nancy Spence of Centennial, who agreed the GOP has progress to make on promoting women. She said Nortons campaign has gotten a great deal of momentum from Bucks shoe remark.
I think it struck a lot of people as undignified, Spence said. Its very much the year to pay attention to conservative women.
Norton herself missed the Molly Brown event to attend a debate with Buck, and again the two sparred over gender. Buck pointed out that he made the high heels jab only because Norton herself has mentioned her shoes.
She has mentioned a number of times to vote for her ... in her high heels, Buck said. She meant it in a lighthearted way, and I meant it in a lighthearted way.
Norton repeated that she wasnt offended by the high heels joke.