Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

House GOP Focuses on Female Recruits for 2014

Black is one of 19 House GOP women. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Republicans are putting the first touches on what they hope will be a formal program to recruit more female candidates for the 2014 midterm elections.

Faced with few women in their ranks — and an image among much of the electorate that they don’t pay enough attention to women’s issues — GOP leaders have some explaining to do. The heightened effort to put more GOP women on the campaign trail comes one cycle after Democrats dominated with female voters, in no small part because incendiary comments by male candidates on rape and abortion allowed Democrats to paint Republicans as hostile to women.

Female members of the House GOP said the new recruiting effort, still in its infancy, will likely include a listening tour of women and women’s groups across the country. The current crop of 19 women in the House GOP would play a key role by talking to prospective candidates.

The program will also feature a more streamlined and packaged message about why Republican policies are beneficial to women as a whole. However, House GOP aides declined to give specifics on the nascent program.

“I think that we have to do a better job in messaging to women,” said Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee. “And I think we’ve learned some lessons, and building upon the lessons that we have learned, tell women that as Republicans, our policies so well match what women many times are very concerned about.”

Democrats argue, of course, that there are fewer Republican women because women in general don’t identify with the party’s positions on women’s issues. Rep. Steve Israel of New York, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said he’s never had to formally recruit women to run.

“The essential difference is that Republicans have to recruit women. All I have to do is answer the phone,” Israel said.

Women make up a much greater portion, one-third, of the House Democratic Caucus compared with the Republican Conference. Women make up 8 percent of the House GOP majority.

And the lopsided gender breakdown extends to the campaign trail.

Last cycle, 109 Republican women filed federal paperwork to run for the House: 48 won their primaries, including 21 incumbents, and 20 won their elections, according to a study from the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics. (A post-election retirement left the House GOP women’s caucus with 19 members.)

By comparison, 190 Democratic women filed federal paperwork to run for the House last cycle: 118 won their primaries, including 45 incumbents, and 62 were elected.

To improve the House GOP’s gender parity, several Republicans agree, women must be asked to run for office — instead of waiting for them to approach local or national party leadership. Freshman Rep. Ann Wagner, R- Mo., said a more formal program to recruit women would represent such an outreach.

“Women need to be asked,” said Wagner, who helped create a similar recruitment program as Republican National Committee co-chairwoman in 2001. “They have to be told of the opportunity and be encouraged to run.”

First-term Rep. Susan W. Brooks, R-Ind., observed that, in her talks with Republican hopefuls, many women don’t believe they possess the necessary experience to run, or else fear how a congressional career will affect their families.

“I think more often than not that they fear they are not qualified or that they can’t raise the money, which is something many women have not been involved in,” Brooks said.

The party must also become more hospitable to female prospects by creating more formal support systems, especially for younger candidates, Republicans argued. The average age of a House GOP woman is 53, compared with 57 for Congress as a whole.

Conservative women often play the more traditional role as caregivers to their children, and running for and serving in Congress often prohibits them from carrying out those roles, said Angela Faulkner, a GOP direct-mail consultant.

“The only time a woman can run is once the kids are out of the house. And that’s not fair,” Faulkner said. “That’s why Republicans have a harder time recruiting women to run for office than the Democratic side. They are trying to figure out, ‘How do I balance both?’”

Faulkner suggested the recruitment program should devote a significant amount of resources to help create child care options. It must also allow women to have more flexible schedules to take care of their families and the responsibilities of being an elected official.

A more formal announcement of the burgeoning program, run with the National Republican Congressional Committee, is expected in the coming weeks.

  • Rob_Chapman

    Given in the article above

    last cycle 109 GOP women vs 190 Dem women filed candacies, a respectable showing for the GOP.

    But— 48 GOP women won their primaries vs 118 DEM WOMEN WINNING THEIR PRIMARIES.
    Clearly the GOP is a toxic environment for women’s candidacies.

  • monacall

    well for one thing the republicans that are running DONT LIE to the public like the democrats do….people have a tendency to go toward with what they feel will benefit them….like Obama money…during his first and second run…democrats are very good at lying about how they will give IT TO THE PEOPLE…..

    republican’s don’t have to recruit women per say….we need to just tell the truth, talk to EVERYONE in the audience, and let the cream float to the top….its like “everyone has the same opportunities, but some don’t chose to use them” I wish we would quit ADVERTISING for women, or ADVERTISING for blacks, or Mexicans or whatever other race, gender, “THEY” think we need…If we as a group would stop segregating each other and see us all as ONE group….and talk about issues for everyone….blend them all together I think we would have a lot more QUAILIFIED INTERESTED PEOPLE. Its like how “DO you want to be treated”? “How do you feel when someone segregates you out” its a matter of thinking, what does GOD THINK? How does he see us???? Amen

  • Em
  • Rumionemore

    Good move for them, but will the women they recruit be “support people” for the menfolk in the party? They need some Kirsten Gilibrands who have the courage to speak out on their own – not just when they are given permission by Daddy.

  • Rumionemore

    The GOP has to ask itself if it wants to win the White House in 2016. If the answer is in the affirmative, the men who now run it definitely need to recruit from all the groups you mention. And they need to accept the people willing to sign on with them. There’s not a lot of cream out there to go around, in case you haven’t noticed. Democrats don’t have it, either. They just have better campaign strategies. The GOP is just as likely to run Petraeus, or have him speak at the national convention. And my guess is that you would think this is okay.

  • monacall

    petraeus wouldn’t be bad….he was a good general…but that is a another talk…
    I think there is a lot of good cream out there…..but it gets suffocated out by bias, if you aren’t this! if you aren’t that! you cant do this….so let all that go, talk in generality talk like you are just as equal as I…….quit labeling everything…..we all have the same stake in the game

  • Rumionemore

    You just made my point with everything you wrote.
    But we do agree that labeling does not move any entity forward. Both parties are guilty of this.

  • monacall

    yes as I said in the beginning….no labels…both parties are quilty yes again as I said the beginning thanks rumionemore

  • ajr86

    Did liberals support Sarah Palin,Christine O’Donnell,Sharon Angle,Mia Love,Meg Whitman,Anna Little,Linda McMahon,Linda Lingle,Heather Wilson and other Republican woman who lost to Democrat men??
    I for one couldn’t care less if my representative was male or female,black white or Hispanic as long as they share my values.

  • lyris

    The problem is the gop always pick the Stepford Wives. Heaven forbid if they actually spoke for themselves and crossed the gop men (pasty white guys).

  • lyris

    That will never happen in our life time.

  • lyris

    Sadly we’ve been waiting for the gop to tell the truth, and we’ve been waiting since nixon.

  • lyris

    I washed my hands of the gop when reagan was President. Greed became good, everything for the wealthy and zip for the rest of us, but sadly reagan got away with it, and Geo. H.W. Bush got stuck with the consequences.

  • lyris

    The gop men see women is inferior. They want to control our bodies, they have made horrible comments about rape hinting that we probably asked for it.

    They want us barefoot and pregnant, and the few gop women who do want to be in government must follow their rules.

    No thank you.

  • lyris

    None of the women you listed above shared my values. They merely followed what the men wanted they to say.

    We don’t need Stepford Wives, we need women likeKirsten Gilibrand who aren’t afraid to differ with the men.

  • monacall

    so tell me lysis where would you be if it wasn’t for the rich? where would you be if Reagan wasn’t president? do you like what Obama is doing now? to answer your statement about Nixon telling the truth..he resigned…after being caught…..after Clinton was impeached he stayed in office and we let him, bushes help put us where we are today…thank you very much bushes, first one especially…
    this administration has divided this country so much it is worse than before the civil right movement began….the lies, the traitors he has working for him is beyond anyone’s realization…redistribution of wealth? why work!!! why work if I have to give it to you!!!! 17 trillion in debt!!!??? we’re in afganistan…this president is giving our money to the rebels in Syria they are terrorists….so yes I to am waiting for the GOP to start telling the truth but I am also waiting for the GOP to impeach this president….

  • ajr86

    So vote based on your values,but don’t start lambasting Republicans for not having enough women in office when you don’t support Republican women. Its an insult to Republican women to say they only follow mens orders.According to liberals women,blacks,Hispanics,gays,poor people,young people stop being who they are if they are Republicans. Stop with the race and gender bating and let people be judged on who they are.Democrats thrive off that.

  • Rumionemore

    I liked Reagan, and he was what the country needed at that time, post-Carter. I jumped on that bandwagon, too, dabbling in the stock market with a 401(k) when I knew nothing about the stock market. But Ron and Nancy did not encourage me to do that. I did it on my own. Reagan was our last really effective president – as of this time – and historians have judged him favorably. From Bush I to Obama, it’s been consistently downhill.
    I agree about the rich and inequality, but in the late 70s/early 80s, experts predicted the decline of the middle class. They recommended that people become educated and that they would need to be tech-savvy. Some people were in unions making big salaries, not necessarily well-educated. When the economy became service-oriented (finance, communications, hospitality), they were not prepared to make the turn.

  • axonneuron

    this is a lol-fest. It’s the platform not the messengers, GOPers. You can frost a dog turd but at the end of the day it’s still a dog turd. Stop catering to the extreme fringe and come back to the center. Or be doomed to got the way of the Whigs, Free-Soilers, Know Nothings and all the other dead parties of the American past.

  • Leota2

    I’m sorry. The GOP needs better recruiters.
    Michelle “I’m nuttier than all the candy bars in the store” Bachmann.
    Marsha “I can’t vote for VAWA ’cause it might help native and lesbian women” Blackburn.
    “Ms. Rape Kit” that cleans women out Jodie Laubenberg.
    And lets not forget crazy “I insult the parents of murdered kids” Virginia Fox.

  • Rob_Chapman

    Interesting comment.

    Let me ask how that is working for you?
    Are middle-aged white male lawyers and businessmen assertively advancing your political interests?

  • M.Bohannon-Kaplan

    Compromise and catering to a supposed middle has got GOP whee it is today–now extremes are needed to regain what was lost via so called compromise. Freedom for EVERYONE of all persuasion is the Libertarian battle cry!

  • Sandy0

    Why WOULD Progressives “support” anyone, male or female, who represents a political GOP party that insults and threatens women daily, publicly? Why would Anyone!

    I often am reminded that “Republicans care more about How Things LOOK than How they ARE! That’s why they are pushing a “message’ that is the Exact OPPOSITE of what they DO

  • Sandy0

    Good for the Dems. Thanks for the compliment. (I am Independent, in all ways.)

  • Sandy0

    Lyrise, Congress already HAS some–not enough though. That’s why the Dem Pol Party needs to fund their campaigns more heartily. Betcha’ the Repubs don’t fund the sorrowful ladies who step up to run–they’ll just feed them “The Message”

  • Sandy0

    God says that women should be treated Equally. We say, Put That in Writing via passing the Equal Rights Amendment, making horrid Republican sexism a violation of the US Constitution.

    What does the GOP say to that? NO Equal Treatment for women–by killing the desperately needed Congressional Paycheck Fairness Act every single YEAR , –by refusing to pass the woman-protective Violence Against Women Act (in THis Rape Culture of USA!). By trying to kill the 90 yr-old ERA every year, everywhere in the states and Congress. By filing 916 antiwoman bills in JUST 3 MONTHS! and so much more. No thanks.

    Ladies who line up for this HateSpeech political party are either stupidly pandering or hate women themselves or yearn for self-hurt. What else could account for them to follow Mrs Black’s trail in this article.?

  • Sandy0

    Rum…, guess you’ve not bothered to look who is on the Unemployment Line. It’s not illiterates, uneducateds, IT’S HIGHLY EDUCATED, EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS!

    FEW out of work are getting J O B S, even those whom we need in the economy!

    GOP again speaks without knowing…

  • Sandy0

    We shoulda’ drilled down on GWB statement that he wasn’t a divider, he was a uniter. Seemed outta’ context then, until we realized “he doth protest too much” as he concertedly drove us apart..
    NOW the GOP is working to make adversaries of male and female..not gonna’ happen to decent people, gonna’ bite the GOP in the ……s.

    The GOP has just run out of “devious” tricks ala Jeb Bush. Still shooting themselves in the foot.

  • monacall

    Where in the bible does it say women r equals. God made women bear children cause eve was the one that eat the apple first. He took the rib from Adam to make her. We aren’t equals. Get ur facts straight.

  • Rumionemore

    Let me add, sixty percent of the jobs created during Obama’s first term were low-wage – waiters, hotel clerks, admin. assistants, housekeepers in the hospitality industry. Lately I have not heard stats., but I am assuming many of the newly created jobs are following this pattern. Yes, there are many educated people who are jobless, but the majority of these people are minorities, especially black men, with little education and few skills.

  • monacall

    yep I would and why not?

    you still don’t get it do you? WOMEN AND MEN WILL NEVER BE EQUAL. nor will they get equal pay….its just a fact of the real world…..if you have worked in this country any where….women have to work 110% as apposed to men working just a 100% it will never never change….so get over it….you equal pay….change your sex….no matter what law they pass no matter how many law suits they have, no matter how good you are….this will never change. NEVER

    women who work with a family….good luck with that to…..they do poorly in both jobs….because they cant give 110 percent to either job….I did it..I know what working is and raising a family, keeping the household going….and so on and so on…..women in my opinion help destroy the family values….by going to work….where are the mom who have kids at work…..what are the kids doing? getting into trouble….an 1 1/2 hour is a long time for a kid to be by his self….they cant help it they get in trouble….why because they have no supervision….no mom’s to watch them….so this is all my doing…my generation. we were so hung up with our OWN FEELINGS we forgot what it took to be a mom….we simply cant do both work and run a household at the same time…it simply does not work… this is just my opinion again WOMEN WILL NEVER BE EQUALS…”

  • Rumionemore

    What are your criteria for judging equality? There are various factors and elements to be considered – education, IQ, general health, spirituality, jobs, salaries, debts, family history, community participation, etc. Some people make decisions that work for their lives; others don’t. Society has tried to sell specific roles females should follow. Many women have broken away from these prescriptions of how they “ought to live,” and they are probably the ones who feel the most gratified about their lives.

  • monacall

    the same criteria you use…freedom of speech…am saying “God, country and family” is what made this country and the women should know that she runs the family….Its a born with thing….haven’t you heard of that phrase “if momma aint happy no one is happy” and your comment “many women have broken away from these prescriptions” is exactly what they want us to do…..break away from family values, moral values…don’t stay home with your kids, give them to someone else to raise….is what they want all a long…and we did it….now we are seeing the consequences of those actions…..

    I am one of the ones who fought for equal pay equal this and that in the early mid 60’s and 70’s that is my generation….little did I realize what the hell I was doing….tearing down the family values….live and let live crap….well what do we have today…..our values, Americas values, culture is being taking away….cause we got to be politically correct BS

  • monacall

    what bills are anti woman?

  • Rumionemore

    The great thing is that we do live in the USA, and every person has a right to those freedoms, to live the way he or she chooses. If people would mind their own gardens more, and stop being incensed that others don’t believe or live the way they do, people would be more at peace – with themselves and with one another. It took me many years to learn this, but I am happier for it. It’s a process and does not happen overnight. Everyone occupies a space, and we are responsible for that space – not everyone else’s.

  • Sandy0

    Do you not watch national news or read your newspapers, mags??

    For starters, as I may have mentioned: Every single year, watch for GOP killing Congressional Paycheck Fairness Act (women average only 77% of a males’ wage nationwide, same job, same creds–Dept Labor stats). GOP notably dragging feet to pass girl, women-protective Violence Against Women Act. GOP embedded with ALEC to either kill the Equal Rights Amendment in the remaining states or, as in FL and VA–blocking votes by refusing even to HEAR the ERA bills in over THIRTEEN YEARS!

    That’s just starters. Since those memorable 3 months, the ongoing GOP antiwoman, antifamily legislation continues Horrific. Do you NOT KNOW?

    Yet the GOP continues to want to paint themselves as woman-family-friendly as if “painting” a new message is all it takes to get women’s votes..focussed on How Things LOOK rather than How Things ARE.

    (I restrain myself from how that’s defined professionally)

  • monacall

    whose mags osandy….get this through your thick skull WOMEN WILL NEVER BE EQUAL…NOT NOW NOT EVER…IN PAY OR WHAT EVER…IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR…IT AINT GONNA HAPPEN you want equal pay being a woman join the military….they pay equally there……..if I owned a company and you and a man applied I would never hire you as an employee for one reason and one reason only……you demand that I do with and for not having the skills of the job. the equality you strive will never be because you demand it….you don’t want to earn it, you think that just because you are woman you should get special treatment my advise to you is to stay home and have babies….or aren’t you equal for that either……..get off this gop or dem crap…..wake up and realize you will NEVER BE AN EQUAL never……

  • Sandy0

    monacal. Unusual hate-diatribe.

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