It was late at night and I had just gotten home from my second shift job. Before going to bed I decided to unwind by reading people verbally abuse one another on Twitter. I started reading a Tweet from Joe Biden and at the top of the replies a certain lady eviscerated the former VP with just a few words. It was great. So, I hit the little heart button to let her know I appreciated it.
Before moving on, though, the name above this reply caught my eye: Lauren Boebert for Congress (R-CO3). I was reading a Tweet from a Republican Congressional candidate. I didn’t think much of it at the time except for a brief “I hope she wins” and I moved on.
This happened several weeks ago. Since then I have returned to Twitter many times. And you know what, Lauren Boebert keeps finding ways to show up in my Twitter feed. Either she’s taking shots at some liberals (which I always appreciate), or someone I follow shared something of hers, or something else. So, I looked into her and her campaign and found that she is running a primary race to unseat Republican Scott Tipton, who she describes as a RINO.
In the process of checking out her campaign I started uncovering other campaigns from strong Republican women. Lots of them. I thought this was great and worth pointing out. In fact, I considered writing this article a couple of weeks ago but procrastinated in doing so.
Then, yesterday, a piece showed up on NPR talking about how a record number of Republican women were running for Congress this year and I kicked myself for failing to get ahead of the curve. But that’s OK. It’s still a great story that definitely needs discussion.
At the time of this writing, there are 217 Republican women who have filed to run for Congress. This blows the old record of 133 (set in 2010) out of the water. Of course, many of these women have yet to clear their primaries. But, as an added bonus, of the 45 who have moved on to the general election, almost half of them are women of color. While I don’t like playing the identity politics game, it is great to see these numbers tear down the Democrat narrative that only their party cares about women and minorities.
So, why is this happening? Well, a lot of it is intentional.
I’m sure many of you remember President Trump’s State of the Union Address from a few years ago when he celebrated the fact that there were a record number of women serving in the congress. The next day it was pointed out by some news organizations that this number was a product of Democratic efforts, not Republican (which was clearly a cheap shot since Trump never claimed otherwise). While it is true that Democratic women came into Congress in huge numbers that year, it was even more disheartening than that simple fact. The real blow came because Republican women actually lost seats in Congress that year.
In an effort to change this, Representative Susan Brooks of Indiana set out to recruit more women to run for Congress when she was named Chair of Candidate Recruitment for the House Republicans. As one of just thirteen Republican women left in the House, she said of 2018, “It was really such a kick to all the Republican women. We were really not expecting to lose as many as we lost.”
Brooks is not alone in this effort, however. Representative Elise Stefanik of the 21st New York Congressional District, launched the Elevate PAC, or E-PAC, to engage, empower, elevate, and elect Republican women in Congress. Additionally, the PAC Winning 4 Women, which includes prominent Republican women such as former Senator Kelly Ayotte, is active in increasing the numbers of Republican women in Congress.
In addition to the intentionality of this effort, it can also be seen as being inspired by the success Democrat women had in 2018. In that year, 100 of them won their seats, thus setting up Trump’s celebration of a record number of women serving in the national legislature. By following in their footsteps, Republican women can turn the increase of women in Congress into a long-term trend instead of a one-year spike. As an aside: this was not a phenomenon limited to the U.S. Many Latin American countries saw record numbers of women running for their national legislatures as well.
Another factor that could be contributing to the decision of Republican women to run is that they want to change the narrative. For many years, the Democratic party has been seen as the party that champions women. It has done this through a simple yet effective three step strategy. Step 1) tell women what their values are, Step 2) repeat this over and over, step 3) run on those issues.
So, what are these issues that women are being told they must care about? According to the website of the National Organization for Women (NOW), these include things like reproductive rights (this means abortion), economic justice, ending violence against women, and LGBTQ rights. These are, of course, issues spoken of often by Democrats. And NOW, as a left-wing organization, champions them as well.
But, as much as they like to pretend otherwise, not all women care about these issues. Or, they care about some but not others. Walk into any Evangelical Church in America and you will find women who are not in favor of abortion or take a different stance on LGBTQ than that of NOW. And there are many women who will look at “economic justice” and see something totally different than what those on the left are saying.
These Republican women running for Congress care about far more issues than these. Things like national security, lower taxes, fiscal responsibility, securing the border, federalism, and the free market are just a few. Many of them have owned businesses, earned advanced degrees, been in the military, and served their community in other positions. As such, they are knowledgeable and experienced and know what’s important to them. The current Democratic Party at best doesn’t speak to these issues or, at worst, is hostile to them.
The Democratic play book is to lump every one into monolithic groups, tell those groups what they should care about, and then campaign on those issues. Unfortunately, this strategy works a lot of time. These Republican women can change that. They can demonstrate that women in America are individuals. They can show that they are fully capable of deciding their own values. They can prove that they are capable of speaking and fighting for these issues on their own.
Here are just some of the Republican women running this year (I didn’t have time to make an exhaustive list and that would have made this article far too long anyway):
Lynn Afendoulis-Michigan 3-Running to unseat Libertarian Justin Amash.
Emily Rafi-also in Michigan 3-She originally intended to Run as a Democrat but left the party in November 2019 and declared her candidacy as a Republican.
Beth Van Duyne-Texas 24-former Mayor of Irving, Texas.
Michelle Fischbach-Minnesota 7-Former Lieutenant Governor of the State.
Marjorie Taylor Greene-Georgia 14
Tamika Hamilton-California 3.
Karen Handel-Georgia 6.
Young Kim-California 39-Lost in 2018 in a close race to Gil Cisneros.
Nancy Mace-South Carolina 1.
Mary Miller-Illinois 15.
Valerie Ramirez Mukherjee-Illinois 10.
Michelle Steal-California 48.
Renee Swan-Texas 17.
Claudia Tenney-New York 22-Previously served in Congress, lost to Anthony Brindisi in 2018, seeking to regain the seat.
Kimberly Klacik-Maryland 7.
The record number of republican women in the house is 25. They would need to pick up 15 seats this election cycle to break that. The goal, though, is to pick up 20 seats in November. This will be difficult as the Democratic Party is expected to keep the House and Joe Biden is leading Donald Trump by 18 points among women in the most recent polling.
However, as I researched this article and read about these strong women standing up for themselves, their families, their communities, and their country, I found myself becoming more impressed by them by the minute. Something tells me that they just might beat the odds and make it to their goal. And on the way to that goal, I expect they will open a lot of eyes and change a lot of minds on the power of Republican women.
Hear to them roar.