The GOP has added at least 10 women to the House of Representatives following the General Election on Nov. 3, indicating a wave of conservative women, not only running, but winning house seats this election. The Republican Party increased its efforts to recruit women to run for office ahead of the 2020 election, a plan that seems to be paying off.
In an announcement last year, the NRCC said it planned to target 55 Democratic seats and gave their support to 22 female nominees this election cycle. According to the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP), 227 Republican women filed to run for the House this year. Of that number, 94 won their primaries, breaking the previous record of 53 wins in 2004. While ballots are still being counted in some states, CAWP has already confirmed the following female GOP wins:
- Kat Cammack (FL)
- Diana Harshbarger (TN)
- Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA)
- Maria Salazar (FL)
- Mary Miller (IL)
- Michelle Fischbach (MN)
- Yvette Herrel (NM)
- Stephanie Bice (OK)
- Nancy Mace (SC)
- Lisa McClain (MI)
- Lauren Boebert (CO)
- Ashley Hinson (IA)
- Victoria Spartz (IN)
Of the list above, Rep. Georgia winner Marjory Taylor Greene has been receiving the most national press coverage due to her reported support of the increasingly popular far-right conspiracy theory group, QAnon.
“As a female resident of Georgia, it’s wonderful to see more women packing the house but it’s definitely alarming that we now have someone who is quoted saying that Charlottesville was an inside job representing our state,” Gabrielle Rose, a Georgia resident said.
Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina made headlines earlier this year when Vice President Mike Pence recognized her during a speech at The Citadel, the military college where she was the first female graduate.
In California, Rep. Harley Rouda (D) is currently locked in a tight race with Michelle Steel (R) for the state’s 48th Congressional District. The Orange County district is the third-most populous county in California and includes areas like Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach. With the exception of Laguna Beach, these areas have exhibited consistently high COVID-19 numbers and were the site of several anti-mask protests over the summer. Rouda won his seat in 2018 during a landslide win for Orange County Democrats that saw its seven House of Representative seats replaced by Democratic candidates.
Public policy expert Dr. Dora Kingsley Vertenten believes this is a sign that the Republican party is finally catching on to their need to diversify.
Q1: “It’s about the fact that the Republican party is willing to look at Republican women, to recruit Republican women and the donors are willing to fund them… it really is a reflection of a political party which has seen the errors of their ways and are beginning to open themselves up to diversity and the first diversity is the issue of gender diversity.”
This surge of conservative female winners is reminiscent of the wave of Democratic female candidates and winners that shook up the house in the 2018 midterm elections. This so-called “blue wave” included popular female democrats such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn), who along with Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), make-up what is known as “The Squad,” a group of women who have become some of the most influential voices of the left. All four of these women have won re-election.
This 2018 win for female democrats could have been the driving force for the gush of conservative candidates this election season, according to Kelly Gittmar with the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Prior to this election season, women made up only 7% of House Republicans, compared to 38% of House Democrats. The record number of Republican women that have served at one time is 25 which means that as of this afternoon Republicans need only 12 more wins to break that record. With 13 wins already under their belt, that number is not far from reach.