Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Republicans Circulate List of Top Female House Candidates

Wagner is a Missouri Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The end of primary season is nigh, and Republicans are now optimistic their slate of House candidates will yield a net gain of female members in the conference after November. 

Republicans are now focusing their efforts on a specific slate of top female candidates with a strong chance of coming to Congress. 

On Tuesday morning, a top aide to Rep. Ann Wagner, a Missouri Republican and leading voice in the conference for women, emailed Capitol Hill colleagues and K Street allies to highlight these female candidates, according to an email obtained by CQ Roll Call.

“As many of you know, my boss, Ann Wagner (MO-2), and Congresswoman Diane Black (TN-6) have worked over the last year to recruit, support and promote Republican women candidates for Congress across the country,” wrote Christian Morgan, Wagner’s chief of staff. “As we are winding down Primary season, I wanted to send you a list of our top candidates.”

Morgan named the following candidates:

  • Retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Ron Barber in Arizona’s 2nd District.
  • State Sen. Mimi Walters, who is facing marginal opposition in the open-seat race for California’s 45th District.
  • Former Iowa Department of Public Health Director Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the GOP nominee to challenge Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, in the Hawkeye State’s 2nd District.
  • State Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, who is in a runoff for the GOP nomination in the open-seat race in Oklahoma’s 5th District.
  • Former White House staffer Elise Stefanik, who is the GOP nominee in the open-seat race for New York’s 21st District.
  • Former Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, the GOP nominee in Utah’s 4th District.
  • Virginia Del. Barbara Comstock, the GOP nominee in Virginia’s 10th District.
  • Former Rep. Nan Hayworth, the GOP nominee to take on Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., in the 18th District.
  • Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers, who is in a competitive primary in Arizona’s 9th District, the winner of which will challenge Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
  • State Rep. Darlene Senger, the GOP nominee to challenge Democratic Rep. Bill Foster in Illinois’ 11th District.

Three of those contenders — Love, Walters and Comstock — are favored to win their races, according to the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call race ratings. If they do, the House GOP conference will gain one female member.

Three other female candidates have an even chance of coming to Congress: McSally and Stefanik are running in Tossup races this November, and Douglas faces similar odds in her runoff. If she wins the 5th District nomination, Douglas is all-but-assured to win this November.

A win among any one of those contests means that the party will have a net gain of women in the fall. None of the 17 female members in the conference seeking re-election have significant challenges in November.

Three more female candidates are less likely to win, according to Rothenberg ratings: Rogers, Hayworth, Miller-Meeks and Senger. Rogers will run for her party’s nod in late August. 

There are currently 19 women in the House Republican conference. But House Republicans started this election year with a net loss of two female members: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is running for Senate, and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., planned to retire.

Amid an environment where Democrats relentlessly branded the GOP as hostile to women voters the party initiated “Project GROW,” which aimed to help female candidates and support outreach to female voters. The program had some rocky moments earlier this year.

Project GROW bet on two Florida special election candidates who were unable to win their primaries. And four additional female candidates lost open-seat House primary races in Georgia, West Virginia, and California.

Related Stories:

A Future NRCC Chairman: Aaron Schock?

House GOP’s Effort to Elect More Women Gets Mixed Results

House Republican Women Endorse in Florida Special Primary

Comstock Gets Boost From House Republican Women

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  • Dirk Diggler

    There’s a reason why Kay Bailey Hutchison, Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins are not in favor with the current Tea/GOP party…the party has moved way to the right on reproductive rights, women’s health care, child care, food stamps and other issues vital to women and young women.

  • bravesrule384

    I wished Michelle Bachmann would run again for President, 2016. Her or Sarah Palin would be great choices. Democrats are ruining this country.

  • Borderhawk

    Most House Republican women are RINOs. Bachmann and Cynthia Lummis are the minority of conservatives. McSally undermined Jesse Kelly.

  • StevenScharf

    “The end of primary season is nigh”. I wouldn’t call two months to go and 18* primaries almost over.

    * Not including Louisanna which essenatilly does their primary in November.

  • ProudOkieToo

    As a female Republican, it is embarrassing to see stories like these where women are promoted because they are female. As long as we are ‘promoted’ because of our gender, we will never be seen as competent or qualified for the jobs we seek. I don’t support Patrice Douglas in Oklahoma’s 5th. Her opponent, Ret. Lt. Col. Steve Russell, who came in first in the primary and leads in the race, served in the Army for 21 years, led a Battalion and was instrumental in the hunt and capture of Saddam Hussein. After the service, he won lawmaker of the year and runner up in 2 of his four years in the State Senate, and led adoption reform, tax reform, pro-life legislation, 2nd Amendment initiatives into law. He is a small business owner in the 5th district, understanding the challenges that our nation is facing with the overreach of regulations. I am just one of many, many women who are supportive of him over his female opponent, because I don’t just look at who has a female name on the ballot, I am concerned about getting our country back on the right path and having a chance for my children to achieve the American Dream. Patrice does not have a depth of knowledge of foreign policy, ideas for how to correct our country’s path, nor any ability to clearly define a conservative vision for the district, state or country, or an understanding of our Constitution and the ability to defend it or even articulately comment about it. For equal reporting and fairness, since ‘being a woman’ should not be a reason for ‘earned media’, when will Roll Call be providing a highlight of the candidates running against these women?

  • WilliamK

    The GOP is not hindering a woman’s right to reproduce., Healthcare, child care, food stamps are not the purview of the federal government. What happened to husbands?

  • Bob Katz

    The liberty school knows that free men will voluntarily associate to create things greater than one’s intellect could ever design.

  • Raj Err

    Since we can see many of the efforts going on around us in a free market, we can use that information to decide upon which skills to obtain, what knowledge to learn, and where best to focus our energies.

  • Scott Smith

    It is cowardly and dishonorable for @RepPaulRyan to put illegal aliens and their murderous reign of terror ahead of US citizens.

  • Joann Roxbury

    Civilization was not magically designed, but rather advanced over thousands of years as our ancestors gradually discovered the ideas and institutions that enabled savage bands and tribes to develop into the nation states of today.

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