Why they’re grabbing headlines
— and elections
[ . . . ]
In the general elections, there are 47 Republican women running for the House, five for the Senate and five for governorships.
The number of high-profile races involving Republican women in places like Delaware, California and Connecticut — some featuring political neophytes — has furthered the sense that the party may be undergoing a fundamental shift.
There are 47 Republican women
running for the House,
five for the Senate
and five for governorships
“There’s a story that underlies what we’re seeing,” says Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “These big, marquee races, the GOP nominating women for both governor and Senate in California — that’s significant. South Carolina put forward a woman for governor. That’s the only state legislature in the country that does not have a woman serving.”
The governor’s races in Oklahoma and New Mexico have women on both tickets, which means, either way, those states will have their first female governor. There is also the new brand of female politician, the middle-aged former CEO — Linda McMahon, Carly Fiorina, Meg Whitman — “coming from the private sector and taking the express ramp into politics at the highest level,” as Walsh puts it.
[ . . . ]
“We’ve always been here,” says Sue Lynch, president of the National Federation of Republican Women. But it’s only recently, Lynch says, that the 72-year-old NFRW has become “very aggressive about informing women and asking them to run. And they see that the door is open, and they shouldn’t be intimidated by men.”
She, like most everyone who spoke for this piece, cited the rise of Sarah Palin as a game changer. “There has been a dearth of role models for women in the party at the highest levels,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony list. Her group is the pro-life, conservative answer to the pro-choice organization Emily’s List, which works to get Democratic women elected.
“Money’s big,” Dannenfelser says, “and Emily’s List had a lock for a long time on the type of woman that runs.”
She believes that it was gender that made Carly Fiorina the more attractive candidate against her male, pro-life rival in the primary and that the emergence of another prominent pro-life woman on the national scene has made things exponentially easier.
“Sarah Palin helps,” she says. “There is a desire on the part of Republicans to see women running.”
What’s most compelling about this crop
is their level of fund-raising and success
What’s most compelling about this crop is their level of fund-raising and success, given their relative inexperience: Sharron Angle, who served in Nevada’s state Senate but had no national profile, may very well knock off Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Kelly Ayotte, running for the Senate in New Hampshire against incumbent Paul Hodes, holds a 13-point lead. Christine O’Donnell, Delaware’s Republican candidate for senator, has never held elected office before and will most likely lose, but an endorsement from Sarah Palin gave her the edge in the primary (as it did for many other Republican candidates).
Analysts and politicians cited the Palin effect, the economy and anti-incumbent rage as factors fueling the rise of the Republican woman. But a few also think that the destabilizing impact of the Tea Party — the outsiders barreling their way through backroom politics — has had a ripple effect.
Posted On October 17 , 2010(1)