In September of 2018, Brett Kavanaugh, who was a Supreme Court Justice nominee at the time, was accused of sexual misconduct by several women.
There were highly publicized hearings and testimonies from witnesses, accusers and Kavanaugh himself.
Justice Kavanaugh was later confirmed to the Supreme Court, but many say the hearings and testimonies made a long lasting and noticeable impact on the midterm elections that followed a few weeks later.
Jerry DeWolf, chairman of the Washington County Republican Central Committee, said in his area, there was in increase in Republican voters following the hearing.
“We saw an uptick in enthusiasm countywide,” he explained. “Some of the things [voters] were saying [was] that this wasn’t fair, what was happening to Justice Kavanaugh, and they felt they had to get out and do something about it. They wanted to vote for the first time, or change their affiliation.”
Del. Sammi Brown (D), recently elected to represent District 65 in the West Virginia House of Delegates, said in her state, she saw an increase of a certain type of candidate running for office following the hearings.
“I think why you saw so many women come out, and why you suddenly saw a large number of women win in the state of West Virginia, is because you heard women and their survivor stories,” Del. Brown said. “They wanted those individuals in office, and they knew they were smart and they were tough and could speak to their lived experiences.”
DeWolf said he takes the topic of sexual assault very seriously, especially when considering his two young daughters and his wife. He said he thinks the topic should be taught to children at a young age by their parents.
“It’s important to teach them that it’s not acceptable to treat people in that way, and that violence in any form or fashion is unacceptable,” DeWolf said.
At the end of the day, many agree the Kavanaugh moment brought many topics surrounding sexual assault to the forefront of the political stage, and forever changed the political scene.
“I think…going forward in 2020…you’re going to see a very different landscape of what politics looks like,” Del. Brown said.