GOP Women, More And Less

The Washington Post had a nice little article yesterday about the record number of women running for Congress as Republicans -- which gives good play to the much-deserving Center for American Women and Poltics (CAWP) at Rutgers, and good spin from congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington. That would be enough of an excuse for me to delve further into my pet topic, the extinction of the elected Republican woman. But yesterday also brought news that congresswoman Ginny Brown-Waite of Florida is retiring. Bonus!

Brown-Waite's departure, along with Mary Fallon's running for governor of Oklahoma, means that only 15 incumbent Republican women will be returning next January -- assuming they all win re-election. Currently, the GOP delegation is just under 10% -- 17 of 177.

But look! A record 107 Republican women have filed to run for a House seat, according to CAWP. Perhaps they'll make some gains after all.

Perhaps. One thing's for sure, there are quite a few Republican women running for House seats. My list (which relies heavily on CAWP, among other sources) is currently up to 134 (a few of whom have dropped out), including the 15 incumbents running for re-election.

But how many actually have a chance to win? Putting aside the incumbents, by my count 55 of the 119 women running are in races where there is any chance of a new Republican getting elected. The other 64 are in absolutely safe Democratic districts (or, in a few cases, running in primaries against safe Republican incumbents). Many of them appear to be conservative activists (Tea Party or otherwise) running in solid blue districts because nobody else will.

There are 50 races most likely to produce a new Republican House member  -- open GOP seats and Democrat-held seats, rated as "Toss-Up" or likely Republican victories. (I'm using the latest Cook Report ratings.) In those 50 GOP primaries, 21 have women candidates (or had; one has already lost) -- but just 12 appear to have any realistic chance of producing a female GOP nominee. And almost all of those are underdogs or in very tough primary fights.


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