Republicans Want To Elect More Women — Just Not Fewer Men
Rosemary Becchi is exactly who the Republican Party says it’s looking for.
Becchi (pronounced “Becky”) is running for one of the House seats Democrats snapped up in the blue wave of 2018 and that Republicans are eager to snatch back in 2020. She is a white-collar professional and a mother of three in a wealthy, white suburb where a lot of swing voters share her same background — the kind of woman Republicans say they are desperate to recruit, to speak to the voters they are desperate to win back.
But when Becchi met with a party official at National Republican Congressional Committee headquarters in Washington, he asked her not to run.
NRCC officials already preferred another Republican in her New Jersey district, he said: Tom Kean Jr., the son of that state’s popular former governor from the ’80s.
“One of the first things they said to me was, ‘Why don’t you run in a different district?’” Becchi fumed in a recent interview. “Well, guess what? I don’t live in another district.”
This is a time when the GOP supposedly wants more Becchis. In 2018, the forces that made the midterms the Year of the Woman for the Democrats spelled total catastrophe for Republicans. White, suburban women with college degrees fled the party in droves. The bloodletting left only 13 Republican women in the House, a number so low that Mitch McConnell (R), the Senate majority leader and no one’s idea of an equality champion, promised to do “a better job of recruiting women candidates and getting them elected.”
There’s no shortage of theories about what has to change and of big money in search of solutions. This cycle, the party is reportedly on track to recruit more women than ever to run for office, and a few donors have poured millions into a new super PAC, Winning for Women, which hopes to ferry those recruits through the primaries.
Becchi’s clash with the party, though, cuts to a more elemental problem: If Republicans want to elect more women, they’ll have to elect fewer men.
“To actually make a difference,” said Cam Savage, one of a handful of Republican strategists trying seriously to elect more women, “people are going to have to go out and steal some seats.”
Republican Women Could Punch Above Their Weight in the New Congress
WASHINGTON – Although Republican women are scarce in the newly convened 116th Congress, they could punch above their weight.
Used to being outnumbered, female lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have a history of working collaboratively together.
That could help the 13 Republican women in the House adjust to both the loss of their party’s control and to their diminished ranks. Democrats took the House with help from a record-breaking 89 female members. By contrast, the number of Republican women dropped from 23 to the lowest number in a quarter century.
“There are just some incredibly deep friendships that some of my female colleagues have with others across the aisle,” said Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks, the Republican who co-led the bipartisan Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues in the last Congress. “And I think we’ll still be able to get things done.”
Brooks, for example, has teamed up in the past with Rep. Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat, to improve the nation’s ability to respond to a bioattack or disease outbreak.
After helping lead the women’s caucus with Democratic Rep. Lois Frankel of Florida, Brooks reached out to her to cosponsor successful legislation to protect young athletes from sexual abuse.
And Brooks has forged a bond with New York Rep. Yvette Clarke, a Democrat on the House ethics panel Brooks chaired, which deals with difficult issues involving fellow lawmakers.
“Women have more of a tendency to focus on … What’s the goal? What’s the policy? How do we get this done?” said Brooks, whose staff is mostly female. “I think, overall, the women in Congress that I’ve dealt with have come at it from a much more pragmatic, less political, viewpoint to solving problems.”
That’s a sentiment shared by a majority of women in the 114th Congress interviewed by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University a few years ago. Women believed they were more likely than their male counterparts to work across party lines, less likely to focus on getting credit or other “ego trappings.”
Because women are still a minority in Congress, “you better stick together,” Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, told the center.
Debbie Walsh, the center’s director, said her favorite example of this is not a piece of legislation but the difference between the annual congressional baseball and softball games. While Republican men suit up against Democratic men on the baseball diamond, women of both parties band together to try to beat female news reporters at softball.
They also team up for more serious missions.
Rep. Susan Davis, D-Calif., has regularly led bipartisan groups of women to visit troops in Afghanistan for Mother’s Day. The women have delivered handmade cards to service members, discussed the challenges facing deployed mothers, and met with Afghan female police and soldiers.
Davis told the Center for American Women and Politics that the trips have multiple benefits.
“Not only the bonding amongst us, but we worked on bills together,” she said of those who have traveled together.
Two women who will have a chance to show how well they can collaborate are Reps. Kay Granger and Nita Lowey, The Texas Republican and the New York Democrat are taking over the top spots on the powerful House committee that writes the annual spending bills. It will be the first time women have led the House Appropriations Committee, or any other House panel of significant stature.
Walsh said the formal and informal ways that congressional women work together can build the relationships that are necessary in legislative bodies.
“It allows you not to demonize each other and just be able to have some conversations,” she said. “It may not solve all the problems, but it certainly can’t hurt.”
Martha Roby bill to combat horrific crimes against children passes House
America’s children are one step closer to being a littler safer after a bill sponsored by Alabama 2nd District U.S. Rep. Martha Roby passed the House on Tuesday.
H.R. 6847: the Preventing Child Exploitation Act of 2018, combats crimes such as child pornography and global sex tourism, and contains tools to fight child abuse and strengthens protections for children under the law. It also renews funding for the National Sex Offender Registry.
“It is our responsibility here in Congress to provide the strongest, most effective tools available to confront, fight, punish, and ultimately prevent horrific crimes against children,” said Roby. “Our children are perhaps the greatest and most precious responsibility given to us. They are vulnerable, innocent, and wholly dependent upon us to protect them. Because of this, both our legal protections for children and the punishments for those who do them harm must be as strong as possible.”
The bill itself contains four Judiciary Committee bills that have previously been approved by the House of Representatives:
- H.R. 1842: the Strengthening Children’s Safety Act — makes communities safer by enhancing penalties for sex offenders who fail to register in the national sex offender registry and then commit a crime of violence. It also ensures enhanced penalties for child exploitation crimes apply equally to all dangerous sex offenders by assuring those convicted of certain sex offenses under the Uniform Code of Military Justice are subject to the enhanced penalties applicable to recidivists under current law.
- H.R. 1862: the Global Child Protection Act — authored by Rep. Roby, the legislation combats global sex tourism by closing loopholes that allow child predators to go unpunished for their abuse of children overseas. Specifically, the bill expands the conduct covered for child sexual exploitation cases that involve abuse occurring abroad to include sexual contact. It also broadens the offenses covered in the recidivist enhancement provisions in current law to protect the youngest of child victims.
- H.R. 1761: the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act — protects child pornography victims by remedying a federal court ruling in United States v. Palomino-Coronado. This decision allowed a defendant to walk free from production of child pornography charges, despite photographic evidence that he had engaged in sexual abuse of a seven-year-old child, because the court found that he lacked the specific intent to produce child pornography prior to abusing the child. To address this loophole in the law, the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act adds additional bases of liability to the crime of child pornography production to prevent this heinous crime and bring criminals to justice.
- H.R. 1188: the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act — reauthorizes the two primary programs of the Adam Walsh Act—the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act and the Sex Offender Management Assistance Program—for five years and makes targeted changes to make the system more efficient and just. These programs help prevent child abuse by ensuring the public has access to information on known sex offenders who may live in their neighborhoods.
The bill passed the House by a voice vote. It now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Watch Roby discuss the bill on the House floor:
Martha McSally makes it official: She’s running for the Senate
U.S. Rep. Martha McSally, a two-term Republican from Tucson and former Air Force combat pilot, on Friday officially entered an already volatile race for Arizona’s open U.S. Senate seat, setting the GOP field for the drive to the Aug. 28 primary.
In a video posted to YouTube Friday morning, McSally plays up her Air Force background, including being the first female pilot to fight in combat, and presents herself as a member of Congress who gets things done in an age of gridlock.
She also signals her intent to align herself with President Donald Trump — in tone and policy — whose backing could be crucial in the Republican primary.
“Like our president, I’m tired of PC politicians and their BS excuses,” she says on the video. “I’m a fighter pilot and I talk like one. That’s why I told Washington Republicans to grow a pair of ovaries and get the job done. Now I’m running for the Senate to fight the fights that must be won.”
McSally’s Senate bid had been widely anticipated from almost the moment on Oct. 24 that incumbent U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., announced he would retire rather than face re-election this year.
Handel Wins Georgia Special Election
Republican Karen Handel has won Georgia’s special election, holding off the most well-funded House candidate in history and deflating Democrats who yearned for a special election rebuke to President Donald Trump.
Handel, who previously served as Georgia’s secretary of state, had 52 percent of the vote to Democrat Jon Ossoff’s 48 percent when the Associated Press called the race late Tuesday night after a six-month campaign in which Republicans hammered Ossoff as an ill fit for a traditionally conservative district.
Handel Campaign Raises $1 Million Online in a Week
On week after the primary in Georgia’s sixth congressional district, the Handel campaign raised over $1 million in online contributions. The race pitted 18 candidates against one another and ended with no outright victor, triggering a runoff competition between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel.
Handel Easily Advances to June Run-off in Georgia
Karen Handel, who was endorsed by VIEW PAC, easily advanced to the GA-06 run-off last night. As expected, Democrat Jon Ossoff led the field with 48% of the vote. Handel finished in second place with 20%, easily besting her GOP rivals. With 100% of the precincts reporting, Ossoff fell just short of the 50% threshold required to avoid the run-off. Handel, however, finished very strong, outpacing her nearest GOP rival, Bob Gray, by nearly 10 points.
Jon Ossoff (D): 48%
Karen Handel (R): 20%
Bob Gray (R): 11%
Judson Hill (R): 9%
Dan Moody: 9%
VIEW PAC Endorses Karen Handel in GA-06 Special
VIEW PAC is proud to announce its endorsement of Karen Handel for the GA-06 special election scheduled for April 18.
Karen’s deep roots in GA-06 and her strong name ID make her an early frontrunner in the race. The first public survey for this race taken last week shows her with 25% of the vote and her nearest Republican challenger at 11%.
But with 18 candidates on the ballot, Karen needs early help to cement her image with the voters and to finish strongly at the top of the field and move on the June runoff.
Please come and meet Karen when she is in town on March 1. VIEW PAC will be hosting an event for her from 4:30pm – 6:00pm at 21 D Street, SE. Click here to see the invitation.
VIEW PAC’s 2017 Kick-Off Reception
Please Join Us At VIEW PAC’s 2017 Kick-Off Reception
There is no other organization that comes close to having as great an impact on the races of Republican women running for the US House and Senate. We are helping these women with the maximum support possible, as early in their primaries as possible – when it matters most.
Last cycle VIEW PAC once again gave over $260,000 in direct contributions to female candidates and incumbents, and also helped raise well over $750,000 in contributions that went directly to those campaigns. Thanks to your amazing support and participation, we made a real difference.
We have exceptionally high hopes for the 2018 cycle. Already our eyes are set on a number of opportunities and we know that working together we are going to continue to make a real difference.
Please join us as we kick-off our efforts for the cycle:
Monday, February 13, 2017
6:00pm to 8:00pm
ATA Conference Center
430 First Street, SE
View the full invite here.
Welcome Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Claudia Tenney!
Please join VIEWPAC in welcoming the 115th Congress’s two freshman female Republican members:
Liz Cheney (WY-al)
- Liz is an international law attorney and foreign policy specialist who held several positions at the U.S. State Department during the George W. Bush Administration.
- In the fall of 2015, Rep. Cynthia Lummis announced her retirement, Liz ran for and handily won the seat. This is the same seat her father held from January 1979 to January 1989. Learn more…
Claudia Tenney (NY-22)
- Claudia is an attorney, businesswoman, and former state legislator. She is the co-owner of Mid-York Press, Inc., a commercial printing and manufacturing firm founded by her grandfather in 1946.
- As a member of the State Assembly from 2011 to her election to Congress in November, Claudia was consistently ranked as one of the top conservative legislators in New York. Learn more….