If 2018 was the Year of the Woman, then 2020 is the Year of the Republican Woman.
But it wasn’t by accident.
Just two years ago, Republicans elected just one new woman to the U.S. House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Democrats elected a wave of women to Congress who were rightfully applauded, celebrated, and featured on one magazine cover after the other. Too many qualified Republican women, however, watched from the sidelines.
The Party vowed to change, sparking a movement led largely by women like Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) and groups like Winning For Women Action Fund, the first Republican SuperPAC dedicated solely to electing women. This cycle, WFW Action Fund poured millions of dollars into races to support strong, qualified women candidates.
For too long, Republican women have been targeted and outspent by the very groups on the Left that paint themselves as champions of women. But with new infrastructure built to counter these efforts, a slate of qualified candidates, and the support of Party leadership, Republicans ushered in a historic year for women. Next year, more Republican women than ever before will take seats in Congress.
Currently, nine of the twelve seats that Republicans flipped in the House were won by women from all walks of life.
In Iowa, former TV news anchor and current state representative Ashley Hinson ousted one-term incumbent Abby Finkenauer.
In Miami, Maria Elvira Salazar, a Cuban-American who knows firsthand the dangers of socialism, ousted one-term incumbent Donna Shalala.
In Oklahoma, Stephanie Bice, who will be the first Iranian-American to serve in Congress, ousted one-term incumbent Kendra Horn.
In Minnesota, Collin Peterson was finally ousted after nearly 30 years in office. It took a Republican woman and the first woman to serve as Minnesota Senate President, Michelle Fischbach, to get it done.
The efforts this cycle should be the foundation of recruitment moving forward: seeking out and supporting qualified female candidates. When Republicans invest in women, Republicans win.
Electoral success is a numbers game that can’t be won unless the Republican Party continues to grow its tent. Republicans must work hard to ensure that conservative values like limited government, strong national defense, and economic opportunity resonate with as many Americans as possible.
But when it comes to women, electing them is just one part of the equation. The Republican Party has long struggled appealing to some women, particularly suburban women. Winning these voters back will require sustained and focused outreach that makes a case for why voting Republican is in their best interest.
Recent polling shows that three out of four Republicans believe having more female candidates would help win over more female voters. Meanwhile, the majority of Republicans polled said that having more Republican women in office helps ensure Republican women are appropriately represented. Ultimately, having more women at the helm of conservative politics is good for America.
Success among women, both candidates and voters, is critical to the long-term survival of the Republican Party. There’s no better or easier way to make gains on both fronts than by electing more qualified women.
This election is a testament to the changing face of the Republican Party, which has proven its commitment to ensuring that more women see themselves and their interests reflected in the GOP.
For the Republican Party, inclusion and diversity is the path forward. Let’s raise these women up as examples of leaders working to change their communities across the country.
While 2020 is a great start, it is just the beginning.
Olivia Perez-Cubas is the Communications Director at Winning For Women Action Fund, the first Republican SuperPAC dedicated solely to electing women.
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