Don't Get Mad, Get Elected: Young, Rich and Republican Women Running for Office in 2010

7 years ago

Recently NPR gave very nice coverage to the increase in the number of women running for elected office as Republicans.

First, from For Republican women, 2010 is already a huge year:

Fourteen Republican women are in the running for the U.S. Senate. In 2008, just three Republican women competed in the general election, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. And 94 are still vying for House seats, compared with 46 at about the same time in the primary cycle two years ago.

Also telling? Sixty of the 106 women who are challenging incumbents for House seats are Republicans —- a sign, says Debbie Walsh, the center's director, that GOP women are increasingly willing to "put their hat in the ring," though the fall outcome remains unpredictable.

As for two possible influences, on Sarah Palin:

Palin's life story —- mother of five, including a son with Down's Syndrome, governor of Alaska, vice presidential nominee —- has proved compelling to many conservative women.

But GOP strategists are careful to note that while Palin, a controversial figure in her own party, has inspired some, the new class of conservative female candidates has largely been motivated by the economy and fervent opposition to the Obama administration's agenda.

"I certainly don't think that Sarah Palin has had nothing to do with this," [the conservative polling firm The Winston Group's Kristen] Soltis says, "but it is the huge concerns about the economy and unemployment that are energizing people across the board -— including Republican women."

And on the Tea Party activity:

Some pundits have suggested that the Tea Party movement has played an important role in giving voice to conservative women and may be driving the female candidate surge.

And [Debbie] Walsh, of the Center for American Women and Politics, says that the Tea Party's empowering effect is something that merits analysis when the story of this election season is told.

But, for now, polling suggests that the anecdotal narrative may be thin.

One note to NPR: Did you really have to include Andrew Sullivan's "shot of estrogen" reference?

The second story is audio and transcript, "Historic Numbers of GOP Women Run for Office." This story references the wealth of the women GOP candidates, something I noted yesterday in regard to Meg Whitman's $81 million already spent on her primary.

REDWOOD CITY, CA - MAY 28: California republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman pauses as she speaks to workers at Graniterock May 28, 2010 in Redwood City, California. With less than one week to go until the California primary election, Meg Whitman toured the Graniterock facility and spoke to workers about her plan if she is elected. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

MARA LIASSON: ... Many of this year's female GOP candidates are rich -- very rich, and they are able to self-finance.

Ruth Mandel is the senior scholar at the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University.

Professor RUTH MANDEL (Senior Scholar, Center for American Women in Politics, Rutgers University): Some women are actually succeeding in business at high enough levels to be able to plow millions of dollars into their own campaigns. And men have been doing that. Some women are now able to do that. That's different. And they happen to be Republicans.

And the speculated role of feminism and liberals:

LIASSON: Ruth Mandel sees all of these Republican women candidates as a natural result of a work that an earlier generation of feminist pioneers - back then, mostly liberal women - did to plow the field.

Prof. MANDEL: For many, many years, when the Women's Movement, when we were discussing, well, if, you know, what kind of women do we want to get in? And some of us would say you can't open the door just a crack. You have to open it very wide. You have to encourage young women to dream about public life and public leadership, and you have to keep the door wide for all kinds women. And that's what we're seeing now: all kinds of women.

LIASSON: And that, says Mandel, is a sign of success for women on all points of the political spectrum.

I particularly like this article's remarking on the way in which women are subjected to the same things men are -- I call that gender-neutral punching: not criticism's based on gender, but the same critiques all political candidates, all people seeking votes from the public, can have to face.

I also can't think of a better segue into the fact that that desire "for women on all points of the political spectrum" to be in elected office can be fulfilled further this summer at the half-day non-partisan workshop in New York City this summer, put on by BlogHer.com and The White House Project, that I'll be keynoting. It is specifically geared toward all women who want to learn about running for office and what it takes, regardless of political persuasion.  Hopefully, we'll help add to the ranks too.

I mean, really -- isn't it time to change the all-male South Carolina state senate or the Ohio state senate's GOP male-female ratio (19-2) (Dems total of 11 are split 6-5)?  The SC senate doesn't even have an election until 2012 -- plenty of time!  Come on, ladies. Don't get mad -- get elected.

 

 

Jill Writes Like She Talks

In The Arena: Jill Miller Zimon, Pepper Pike City Council Member

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