Republicans Struggle to GROW Women in Recruitment Drive

Despite Push, House Republicans Have Recruited 33% Less Women Candidates

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AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., who as conference chair is the most senior Republican woman in the House, seen here rehearsing the Republican response to the State of the Union on Capitol Hill that she delivered Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014.

Last June, House Republican leaders announced with much fanfare Project GROW, or Growing Republican Opportunities for Women, a program designed to elect more women to Congress. “Women are the majority, and we need to do a better job, and that’s what this is all about,” Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, chairman of the House GOP‘s campaign arm, said during the roll-out, referring to the fact that women proportionately have voted in greater numbers than men since 1980.

Three months later, Roll Call reported that the group had an initial list of 13 female candidates that they would be helping. A 14th woman, Florida state Rep. Kathleen Peters, who was running in a special election, was later added. Five Republican congresswomen endorsed Peters and held a fundraiser for her in December. “Kathleen is exactly the kind of strong woman we need more of in Congress,” Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner said at the time. “Congress needs more mothers, grandmothers and community leaders who know what it’s like to wake up every day and go to work for your family and the community.”

Despite the help, Peters lost the GOP primary in January to a former lobbyist named David Jolly. And Jolly is now facing off against former Florida chief financial officer Alex Sink, a woman. He is trailing Sink in polls ahead of the March 11 special election, as women’s groups assail him for lobbying against a bill that would’ve mandated equal pay for women in the Florida legislature.

Would Peters have fared better against Sink? No one will ever know. What’s clear is that Republicans are coming up short in their bid to recruit more women to run for office.

Thirty years ago, Republicans and Democrats had equal numbers of female politicians, but since then Democratic female representation has taken off dramatically. Part of the problem is that Republican female state legislators tend to be more moderate than their male counterparts and therefore have a tougher time getting through increasingly partisan primaries, according to Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.

“Women’s representation is very lopsided on the Democratic side and the Republican Party has to do more if they want to see more women elected to office,” Walsh says. “They need to go out—the party itself, the state parties—need to make primaries a priority. The numbers of Republican women that are running, it’s not the numbers you need to see an increase in representation at congressional level.”

Indeed, last election cycle 108 Republican women ran in House primaries, according to data compiled by Walsh’s center. Less than half won and only 20 were elected to Congress, most of them incumbents. The 19 Republican women currently serving in the House make up only 4.4 percent of the House, and only 8 percent of the GOP conference. The numbers this year are even worse: Only 73 Republican women, including 17 incumbents, have filed or are expected to file to run for a House seat in 2014. That’s a 33 percent decrease from last cycle, though there’s still time—albeit not much—for more women to sign up. By comparison, there are 62 Democratic congresswomen in the House, making up 30 percent of the Democratic caucus, and 149 women are running or expected to run in the 2014 primaries.

Another part of the problem is the lack of establishment help for female politicians, says Jennifer Lawless, a political science professor at American University specializing in female political representation. “The Republican Party hasn’t been hospitable to Republican candidates in the past. There’s some degree of reluctance by women interested in running as to what kind of support they’d get from the Party if they do run,” Lawless says. “The important question is to find out how hard the Party has tried. It’s actually impossible not to be able to identify a qualified female candidate in every single district; we’re talking about 435 districts here. So, 13 or 14 candidates is incredibly low.”

While GROW makes help available to all women running for the House, it is focusing on the 13 races where women are somewhat competitive. And yet competitive is a relative term. Of the seven women who’ve qualified for the first tier of the House GOP campaign arm’s Young Guns status—the first of three tiers which earns them more political help—two trail male primary rivals in fundraising and another two have serious male primary challengers. In other words, less than half of the seven have promising hopes of advancing to the general election.

Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said “we are dedicated to helping all candidates in competitive races put together strong campaigns.”

“For the first time ever we have established a dedicated program directed by our female members… to engage female leaders on and off the ballot—in the 2014 cycle and beyond,” she said.

Ginning up backing to elect more Republican women looks to be an uphill battle, despite the leaders’ best intentions. An ABC-Fusion poll last October found that only 23 percent of Republicans agreed that “it would be a good thing if more women were elected to Congress,” while 60 percent of the Democrats surveyed agreed with that statement.

Nothing GROWs without support.

37 comments
sacredh
sacredh

The GOP has the same high regard for women that the KIan does for minorities.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

Historically, the GOP has NEVER represented the working class much less women and minorities. Recall how the GOP opposed the Equal Pay Act for women in the 1960s and oppose it still today. They saw Women's Liberation as a threat or dismissed it as radical.

Today's GOP have not progressed. Their extremist conservatives have rolled back protections on women's reproductive rights which are under constant attack nationwide and funded by massive amounts of conservative Republican money from the Koch brothers and ALEC their democracy corroding legislative-crafting organization and hundreds of GOP offshoot groups not just anti-abortion groups, but a larger mindset that cuts funding for needy women and children and the elderly in order to maintain massive tax breaks and subsidies for the rich.

The GOP have narrow-mindedly attacked birth control, access to preventive and affordable healthcare, the very right to vote, to make a living and fair wage, while downplaying rape, incest, child abuse, domestic violence, sexual harassment, and discrimination.

The GOP who have managed to con, manipulate, and exploit the working class for decades thinks somehown that if they can come up with better marketing and propaganda that they will somehow win over women or minorities is misguided. Their lies that have resulted in the greatest disparity between rich and poor, that have reduced the Middle Class by 25% just since Reagan's failed "trickle-down economics" and stagnated wages for the 99% while wrecking our economy, killing and wounding nearly all of the US-Coalition soldiers since Vietnam, damaging the environment, and mortgaging Americans future simply will no longer work.

The extremists have taken over the Republican Party which is on the wrong side of morality and demographics and now has to consistently lie, cheat, and steal in order to win elections and remain competitive.

Any working class American voting for the GOP hurt themselves, their families, and the rest of us.



oldwhiteguy
oldwhiteguy

These people are clueless across a wide range of topics and it shows up particularly well here. You don't "recruit" women, anymore than you "recruit" teenagers or senior citizens or left-handed zookeepers. Unless you're putting out a casting call for a movie. Instead, you offer a position and a personality, not to mention policies, that are empathetic with these people. You need to understand their needs and act accordingly. As opposed to selling what amounts to be YOUR needs to them. The current Republican party has been hijacked by the right wing. They have abandoned mainstream thinking. They disparage intelligence. They attack and demean the "47%"  that they themselves identified as "the problem" in this country. And they offer no positive thinking to address current issues, only more of the same old war-mongering, rich-rewarding, "we got ours, screw you" thinking. So why should women be attracted to them? Or the young? Or minorities? Or anyone who can get past the spin? Recruit women? Why? So they can put their pictures in a three-ring binder?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

Isnt capability and competence be the yardstick for a political candidate and not the gender or color of skin ? What is the use if electing a candidate to public office if she is not qualified and devoid of any accomplishment like Hillary Clinton ? This country already made the mistake of electing a black man to the Presidency for his skin tone rather than his qualifications and capabilities. Look what happened.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

"An ABC-Fusion poll last October found that only 23 percent of Republicans agreed that “it would be a good thing if more women were elected to Congress...”"

I'm utterly shocked.  SHOCKED, I say.

I can't BELIEVE that many Republicans would actually agree with that statement.  

They must the center-right folks who can't bring themselves to be called anything other than "Republican", but aren't considered "Republicans" by the other 77%.

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Somebody get the GOTP on the phone.  I'll give up my bodily autonomy, constitutional rights and most personal decisions to the government right after they do.

jmac
jmac

" . . .  female state legislatures tend to be more moderate . . . "


Indeed, women use both sides of their brain.  It's a proven fact.  Men, not so much.   

JingJing11
JingJing11

"An ABC-Fusion poll last October found that only 23 percent of Republicans agreed that “it would be a good thing if more women were elected to Congress,” while 60 percent of the Democrats surveyed agreed with that statement."

I probably shouldn't be surprised, but as someone who works with statistics daily, 23% is a shockingly low number for such a benign statement.  Wish they would include more information on the details of the survey...  I'm just... floored.

ARTRaveler
ARTRaveler

Quick hint, GOP, you don't go looking for possible candidates with a vaginal probe in your hand.

Irony
Irony

Here GOP, I'll give you a freebie on this one.


If you want to attract more women, try not adopting legislation that prevents them from making decisions about their own bodies.

You could also try actually respecting their opinion as human beings, giving them a voice as actual members of your club instead of as tokens to "prove" your diversity. You know, be sincere, or at least fake it well enough to fool them (One good first step might be to not give your "support group" an acronym that implies that the women it supports are not already fully grown).

But who am I kidding. If you were capable of any of that, you wouldn't be Republicans.

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

Your last sentence --


"An ABC-Fusion poll last October found that only 23 percent of Republicans agreed that “it would be a good thing if more women were elected to Congress,” while 60 percent of the Democrats surveyed agreed with that statement."


says it all as far as I'm concerned. Even if they do get women to agree to run, they don't get the support and help from the leadership. All these men who are leading the fight against all reproductive rights simply anger women.


MistressMetalMe
MistressMetalMe

"Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner said at the time. “Congress needs more mothers, grandmothers and community leaders who know what it’s like to wake up every day and go to work for your family and the community.” "


So she's saying that fathers, grandfathers and (male) community leaders (/organizers) don't work for your family and the community? This is exactly the BS that needs to stop. Everyone (across the political spectrum) needs to stop acting and talking as if women are the only ones responsible for their families and are incapable of concerning themselves with politics / economy / etc.

ThomasHall
ThomasHall

The GOP have historically NEVER represented the working class much less women, the poor, gays, or minorities. As long as the gOP keeps up their very real war on women nationwide and in the states with dozens of anti-women reproductive rights, laws subjecting women to government-mandated intrusive, unnecessary medical procedures like abdominal or transvag probe sonograms, cutbacks to a hole array of social service programs and benefits like food stamps, Headstart, Pell Grants, while also suppressing their vote and voices. Recall teh GOP voted to allow an employer to deny heathcare benfits including preventive heathcare that covered cancer screening, vaccinations, and birth control. Thye also opppose equal pay for women.

As long as the GOP continue to discriminate against women or make them second-class citizens they will continue to leave the party and vote Democratic which they should.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

You mean women don't want to be associated with the party of legitimate rape and forced ultrasounds? Cue the shocked face.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Thanks, Jay. Given the harsh positions the GOP have taken against women as a group - reproductive rights (as in, restricting and eliminating) are the obvious ones - it's no wonder they're having a hard time finding binders full of women, as Mitt Romney had said. Maybe they should look back to Romney's failed campaign and learn from the mistakes, but it's likely they won't. And of course, the GOP's general campaigns against economic equality and full employment (how many job bills have passed Boehner's House?) hurt everyone. Why should anyone support a party that goes against one's best interests?

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

@ReneDemonteverde  Ok, then...who does the GOP have that exudes the capability and competence that you crave?  Most of the high-profile GOP candidates seem to be the ones who can shout the loudest.  I would also argue that the only GOP politicians (at least in the Senate) who are worth a damn are the women.  At least they open their ears and minds before their mouths.


reallife
reallife

@DeweySayenoff   " Forty-three percent of Americans say it would be a good thing if more women were elected to Congress – but the range here is from six in 10 Democrats and liberals alike to just 26 percent of conservatives and 23 percent of Republicans. Instead two-thirds or more in these latter two groups say it makes no difference to them."


from your own poll

Read the las sentence which you conveniently forgot


typical LIARS


not surprise there





Irony
Irony

@MistressMetalMe  

Quick question. Which party do you think has a greater proportion of people who would be supportive of a man who decides it's his calling to be a good househusband?

reallife
reallife

@mantisdragon91  yawwwnwnnnnn

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@HudsonValleyTim @ReneDemonteverde  Susana Martinez, Nikki Kelley, Nia Love, Etang Discher Condi Rice, among others. Maybe that is why many of the female Governors competent ones, not the Granholms nor even Hillary, are Republicans. But then you people are the type that if it does not agree with your opinion will make up stories and lies to destroy other lives, as you did Sarah Palin. 

JingJing11
JingJing11

@DeweySayenoff @JingJing11 LOL... I know about Google.  I just wish an article on TIME magazine's website would include more information about where and how they obtained their statistics.  But who am I kidding, everyone is too lazy to care anyway.

reallife
reallife

@DeweySayenoff @JingJing11  " Forty-three percent of Americans say it would be a good thing if more women were elected to Congress – but the range here is from six in 10 Democrats and liberals alike to just 26 percent of conservatives and 23 percent of Republicans. Instead two-thirds or more in these latter two groups say it makes no difference to them."




Read the las sentence


LIARS



MistressMetalMe
MistressMetalMe

@Irony @MistressMetalMe  And, honestly, the fact that the only part of the comment you seem to have read is "across the political spectrum" really pisses me off. Not everything is US vs. THEM. That mentality is part of why things are so f*cked up on the GOP side right now.  As we're all so fond of (rightly) telling the GOP that they have to stop arguing about everything and actually DO SOMETHING, maybe we should take that advice sometimes.

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

You seem to be one of the last GOP dinosaurs to recognize that you have a problem with women (and minorities).

hivemaster
hivemaster

Leave it to Beaver is still in re-runs, so he's confused.