There’s been a significant drop in the number of Republican women running for Congress this cycle compared to 2012.
According to findings by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University, 74 Republican women, including 17 incumbents, are likely to run or are running for seats in the House this cycle. By comparison, 108 ran for Congress in 2012. The number has remained the same in the Senate, though, with 16 women running both this cycle and in 2012. The findings are regularly updated after each primary election.
What’s more, by a ratio of 3 to 1 there are more Democratic women in the House than their Republican counterparts and the ratio is 4 to 1 in the Senate.
The findings are shocking given the importance Republican officials have political operatives have put into attracting new women candidates and voters. The Boston Globe, which flagged the Rutgers findings, noted that so far this cycle top Republican operatives have founded a new political strategy firm focused solely on women, Burning Glass Consulting.
“We’re looking at how we articulate the message, the tone we use, and basically just pushing back on the narrative Democrats have that all women care about are reproductive rights,” Burning Glass partner Katie Packer Gage told the Globe.
Late last year a ABC-Fusion poll found that 23 percent of Republicans agreed that it would be a good change for more women to be elected to Congress. Meanwhile, 60 percent of Democrats said it would be a good thing, the Globe noted.
In 2012 President Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney among women voters, winning 55 percent of that constituency.
It’s a fact that isn’t lost on the GOP.
After the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee’s autopsy report argued that the party needed more women surrogates and should increase the number of “influential female voices” in the party, the Globe noted.
Earlier in March, the Conservative Political Action Conference featured a panel on conservative women in politics. The panelists said it was important for Republicans to have women surrogates discussing women’s issues and for there not to be any dumb comments like then-Rep. Todd Akin’s (R-MO) “legitimate rape” comment that effectively ended his campaign.”