The “pink wave” of women running for office includes some candidates breastfeeding in their campaign ads — a move they say underscores the dynamic role of mothers in the political sphere.
Krish Vignarajah, a Maryland gubernatorial candidate, released her YouTube ad, Wednesday, nursing her nine-month-old daughter, Alana.
“It was no accident. It’s my life. It’s the reality of working moms — taking care of family, juggling work and getting the job done,” Vignarajah told ABC News. “I hope the ad drives a conversation about the lack of representation in elected office in Maryland and the policy consequences of that lack of diversity.”
The former policy adviser to Michelle Obama is the only woman running in a crowded field of eight men. Her selection of Sharon Blake as her running mate, marks the first time in Maryland’s history the ticket includes two women of color.
Vignarajah, 38, wraps her 30-second ad, stating, “Some say no man can beat Larry Hogan. Well, I’m no man. I’m a mom. I’m a woman. And I want to be your next governor.”
If Vignarajah wins the Democratic primary in June, she will likely face incumbent Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has maintained high approval ratings, despite Maryland’s tendency to lean Democratic.
Nationally, more than 70 women have thrown their hats in the ring to run for governor, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.
Earlier this month, a Democratic candidate in Wisconsin’s gubernatorial race, Kelda Roys released a campaign ad breastfeeding while discussing her efforts to ban the use of Bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles and sippy cups in the state.
In the ad, titled “Our girls,” Roys, 38, recounts meeting a mother, whose daughter was exposed to BPA, and the “incredible” moment when Wisconsin became one of the very first states to ban BPA.
However, Roys told the HuffPost, the controversial scene was not planned.
“Anybody who’s ever had a baby can tell you that they are unpredictable,” Roys said, according to the HuffPost. “I just did what I have been trained by her to do, which is to immediately grab her and feed her, and I just sort of didn’t think about it.”
“When they sent back the video and it was in there, I just said, ’What the heck, this is real life,’” she added. “I think, in 2018, people are hungry for candidates who are authentic and speak the truth. I don’t want to have to hide a really important part of myself in order to win an election.”
Despite drawing criticism, neither candidate is backing down - likely won’t be the last ad that features a female candidate proudly nursing their child.
Vignarajah told ABC News the ad is about the importance of diversity and representation.
However, if people pay attention to this issue because "a mom is emphasizing being a mom, all the better."