At 'Women for Sherrod Brown' Event, Progressive Hosts Slam Trump and 'Heteronormal Men'

Sherrod Brown, Connie Schultz in 2006 (Jamie Rose/Getty Images)
April 25, 2024

On the campaign trail, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D.) pitches himself as a populist who shares Ohio's blue-collar values. But inside a "Women for Sherrod Brown" fundraiser in March, Brown's wife and a left-wing writer cast a more progressive image, slamming "heteronormal men" and saying Donald Trump will become a dictator if reelected.

Brown's wife, Connie Schultz, headlined the March 6 event alongside Heather Cox Richardson, a columnist who regularly compares Trump and Republicans to Nazis. During the event—up to $3,300 to attend—Schultz and Richardson said that "a vote for Trump … is the last time any of us will cast a vote for president" and that "the gains women have made since the 1970's [sic] are threatening the heteronormal men," according to "visual notes" shared on Instagram by one event attendee.


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The event is an odd choice for Brown, who is widely considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents up for reelection this fall. Trump handily won Ohio in 2016 and 2020, and Brown will almost certainly need a good chunk of Trump's voters to hold his seat. Brown has made overtures to Trump voters, going so far as to defend the former president's critical stance on free trade.

But Brown, who in campaign ads rarely refers to himself as a Democrat, votes with President Joe Biden more than 98 percent of the time. Progressive Punch, which grades Democratic lawmakers on their votes, ranks Brown the 10th most left-wing senator in office.

During their conversation, Richardson and Schultz, a journalist, talked about "reclaiming this country" and touched on issues such as abortion, "disinformation," and the need for "principal [sic] based journalism." The pair assured attendees that "our sustained rage [is] not a problem" and expressed their wish that "Donald [Trump] would go away."

The fundraiser was cosponsored by an anti-Trump group called Grass Roots Resistance, which was "formed after the 2016 presidential election over tears and lots of wine," according to its Facebook page, and was featured in an Atlantic piece entitled "Revenge of the Wine Moms." Grass Roots Resistance cohosted a "fantastic drag show" in October 2023, according to a Facebook post from the Cuyahoga Democratic Women's Caucus.

Brown's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

"Women for Sherrod Brown" launched in 2012, likely in response to a unique vulnerability the senator faces with female voters.

Brown's first marriage ended in 1987. During those divorce proceedings, Brown's first wife, Larke Recchie, obtained a restraining order against Brown after alleging he engaged "intimidated, pushed, shoved and bullied" her on several occasions. In a court filing, Recchie recounted an incident in 1986 in which Brown allegedly "pushed me up against the wall with his arms in order to pass and enter the house."

"He refused to leave when asked and began to say insulting, derogatory things about me, my mothering of my children and my character in front of my friends and children," Recchie's filing reads. "I am definitely afraid of my husband, that he has struck and bullied me on several different occasions, he has completely destroyed my peace of mind and that I am extremely intimidated by him."

Recchie has since defended her former husband, calling him an "honorable man" during his last reelection campaign, in 2018.

Update 6:36 a.m.: This piece has been corrected to note that Schultz and Richardson, not Brown, discussed the issues mentioned in the fifth paragraph.