In The News

In The News2017-05-12T14:55:23+00:00
1412, 2020

Against the Grain: Ep. 99 “Cracking the Ceiling”

December 14th, 2020|

VIEW PAC executive director Julie Conway joined the podcast to talk about Republican women’s successes in the 2020 campaign cycle. Conway discusses the challenges of recruiting women for Congress, the role that President Trump plays in these races, and the Georgia Senate runoffs.


Listen now:




412, 2020

Zooms, phone calls and texts: Supporting GOP women behind the scenes

December 4th, 2020|

A network of mentors helped support female Republicans this cycle

California Rep.-elect Young Kim, here campaigning in Brea, Calif., in 2018, says the level of behind-the-scenes support for GOP female candidates was more palpable this year because the party made it a higher priority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
California Rep.-elect Young Kim, here campaigning in Brea, Calif., in 2018, says the level of behind-the-scenes support for GOP female candidates was more palpable this year because the party made it a higher priority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The coronavirus pandemic sent candidates scrambling in the spring, trying to figure out how to campaign amid a global health crisis. For Republican women, that meant calling Julie Conway.

“I was having the same conversation 30 times a day,” Conway, the executive director of VIEW PAC, which supports GOP women running for office, said in a recent interview. “It occurred to me: Why don’t I just get them together once a day?”

Then came the Zoom calls — roughly two dozen female Republicans running for Congress, with no staff or consultants, having candid discussions with experts, current and former lawmakers and each other about how to adjust their campaigns. In the spring, those calls occurred every day and eventually became less frequent. But Conway plans to hold similar virtual events in future election cycles.

This kind of virtual gathering was new, but the behind-the-scenes mentoring wasn’t. Though often unseen, mentors have long helped female candidates navigate obstacles their male counterparts may not face. Lawmakers and campaign strategists say this mentorship is vital, and the record number of women in the House is thanks in part to this support.

Republicans, left with just 13 women in the House after the 2018 elections, were especially focused on supporting female candidates this cycle. The next Congress will see at least 28 House GOP women, a new record.

Now the party faces questions about how to grow that effort and make sure it lasts.

‘Hundreds of hours’

New York GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik, who led the effort to recruit and support Republican women after 2018’s dismal results, said current female lawmakers made an “extraordinary time commitment” that outsiders would not appreciate in mentoring candidates this year, including endless phone calls and texts.

“This is literally hundreds of hours of conversations … probably more than that actually,” Stefanik said. “I think that strongly benefits the recruited candidates who are engaging in those conversations throughout their candidacy.

A handful of congresswomen-elect who spoke to CQ Roll Call named both Stefanik and Conway as critical mentors. California’s Young Kim, who lost a close race to Democrat Gil Cisneros in 2018 before unseating him this year, said Stefanik pledged early on to support her if she ran again. But Stefanik also set a specific goal for Kim — to raise $250,000 in the first quarter of her campaign.

 “I looked at her, I said, ‘Challenge accepted,’” Kim recalled. She raised $401,000.

Personal relationships with mentors can also help bring funds and support to a race, said former Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock, who serves on the board for VIEW PAC and Winning for Women, another group that supports female Republicans.

“In October, people call and ask you, ‘OK, I want to help. Where can I put some money? What are some good races?’” Comstock said. “When you see a race being well run, and you have that personal relationship with the candidate, then it makes it easier for you to say, ‘Let’s put more money down here.’”

Kim said the level of support was more palpable this year compared to her 2018 race, in part because the party made recruiting and supporting women a higher priority.

That support can help women navigate challenges male candidates may not have to face.

South Carolina’s Nancy Mace, a single mom, said she was often asked on the campaign trail how she was going to take care of her kids. Mace, who participated in the regular Zoom calls with VIEW PAC, said having a network of women going through similar experiences was valuable.

“As a woman, you have to work twice as hard to be seen as equal,” she said. “These women know that.”

Mace went on to defeat freshman Democrat Joe Cunningham, becoming the first Republican woman elected to Congress from South Carolina.

Iowa’s Ashley Hinson leaned on her network when her campaign website was found to have plagiarized from various news outlets and the website of her Democratic opponent, Rep. Abby Finekanuer. Hinson said at the time she wasn’t aware the passages were plagiarized, and she shook up her campaign team as a result.

A long-term effort?

Conway acknowledged that this network of Republican women is largely informal, while Democrats have a more organized effort concentrated mostly within EMILY’s List, which backs female candidates who support abortion rights.

EMILY’s List executive director Emily Cain said the group has personal relationships with candidates that span several years as they climb the political ladder. And they’ve been successful. The next Congress will include at least 89 Democratic women in the House, tying the record set in 2018.

“The challenge has been, ‘How do you sustain it? How do you make it personal and how do you make it deliberate?’” Cain said.

“And that will be the challenge that [Republicans] have to face as well if the party is really serious about actually empowering and adding more women to their ranks,” Cain said.

Republican women believe their efforts are sustainable and don’t necessarily have to be centralized in one organization like EMILY’s List. Conway said the mentoring and networking needs to be “catered” to individual candidates, and others pointed to GOP efforts to recruit and support women that have been underway for years.

“This is not like it just happened the last two years,” California Rep.-elect Michelle Steel said. “We worked on this.”

Stefanik noted that the Republican State Leadership Committee, which supports GOP candidates running for state office, has been working to recruit women. Since the group launched its Right Women, Right Now effort in 2012, 665 women have been elected to state office.

Of the nine GOP women who have flipped House seats so far, according to The Associated Press, eight were previously elected to state or local office.

“We are looking to build that long-term,” said Kamilah Prince, RSLC’s director of recruitment and training. “I think overall, it’s been very successful. There’s definitely still room to grow.”

The newly elected GOP women, including Hinson and Kim, said they are ready and willing to mentor candidates themselves in 2022, and Hinson said she’s already reaching out to women and encouraging them to run. But for now, their more immediate task is setting up their offices in the Capitol. Mentors can help with that too.

Conway has been helping incoming lawmakers vet staffers, and she’s even helping three of them find places to live in D.C.

“My job isn’t only to get them elected,” Conway said. “It’s to help them be the best member of Congress possible so that next time it’s easier to get them elected.”

Read more here.

511, 2020

2020 Was a Big Win for Women—Republican Women

November 5th, 2020|

“Republicans should be thanking their lucky stars for the women that are running this cycle.”

Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/Getty

It’s still unclear whether Donald Trump will pull off the kind of poll-defying, frenzy-inducing victory he did in 2016. But this year’s election results hold another surprise victory—this time, for Republican women.

While Republicans were largely left out of 2018’s “Year of the Woman,” when 126 Democratic women and just 20 GOP women were elected to Congress, they are on track for a record-breaking year in 2020. Twenty-three Republican women have already won their races so far—including six who flipped their districts from blue to red—setting them up to blow past their previous record for number of GOP women in Congress.

“Republicans should be thanking their lucky stars for the women that are running this cycle,” said Rosalyn Cooperman, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington. “The inroads that were made by Republicans in 2020 on the House side were made by women, and they would be well-served to remember that.”

“For the majority of our women coming in, they will want to get things done, and the only way you get things down in a legislative body is to reach aside the aisle and work with the other side.”

Whether the GOP women victors will legislate any differently than their male counterparts remains to be seen. There is a joke that if progressive feminists say we should abolish prisons, moderate feminists say we should hire more female police officers; it’s unclear whether the incoming GOP women will be reformers or simply officers enforcing their party’s anti-woman policies.

Of the Republican women who flipped their seats on Tuesday, all six are vocally anti-abortion, and one even introduced a bill that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks. Two of the women winners are vocal supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory.

But Julie Conway, executive director of VIEW Pac, which supports Republican women running for office, says she believes these women will be more likely to work with the historic number of Democratic women who preceded them.

“For the majority of our women coming in, they will want to get things done, and the only way you get things down in a legislative body is to reach aside the aisle and work with the other side,” she said. “And I think that’s what our women are going to do.”

The Republican women’s sweep to victory is, if not unexpected, slightly confusing. The GOP has no multi-million-dollar womens’ fundraising group, and seemingly little concern for the number of women in their ranks overall. (A 2018 poll of GOP primary voters found that 71 percent said they were not concerned about the measly 13 Republican women in the House that year.) In a party like this, in a year when suburban women were reportedly turning away from the party of Trump in droves, how did so many Republican women come out victorious?

The answer, in some part, could be that these women were just in the right place at the right time; running in historically red districts where they were perfectly situated to take advantage of the country’s unexpected rightward swing. Many of the women—María Elvira Salazar in Florida, Nancy Mace in South Carolina, and Yvette Herrell in New Mexico, to name a few—were running in districts that Democrats had only recently won in 2018, poised to take them back at the soonest possible opportunity.

But experts say that, for Republican women, being in the right place is a victory in and of itself. Kelly Dittmar, director of research at the Center for American Women and Politics, pointed out that while Republicans made significant gains in 2010, they failed to increase the percentage of women in their midst, largely because of a lack of female candidates.

“Republican women can’t win if they’re not on the ballot,” Dittmar said. “To me, the story for women is that the only way you take advantage of opportune environments, especially when they’re somewhat unexpected, is by being there—being on the ballot.”

“In all of these races where we thought we could be competitive, even if there was a guy who may have raised his hand … we didn’t stop there.”
This year, GOP women seemed to take that message to heart. A record 227 Republican women filed to run for the House of Representatives in 2020 and 94 became their party’s nominee, compared to a previous record of just 53. A number of GOP operatives who spoke to The Daily Beast pointed to a surprising source for this surge of women candidates: The blue wave of 2018.

After seeing the successes of more than 100 Democratic women, some of them with little to no political experience, “a lot of conservative women started to think to themselves, ‘You know what, I can do this too,” said Kodiak Hill-Davis, political director of conservative women’s group Women for Progress.

In 2018, she added, “there were more Gregs and Mikes in the Republican House conference than there were women. You can’t see a stat like that and think to yourself, ‘Well, we’ll just keep doing what we’ve always done and it’ll eventually come out in the wash.’”

That year was a turning point for many conservative women’s groups, too. In December of 2018, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) announced that she was leaving the NRCC to build her own group, Elevate PAC, to help Republican women win their primaries. When NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer told a reporter he thought it was a “mistake,” Stefanik replied: “NEWSFLASH: I wasn’t asking for permission.”

Republican women as a whole, Hill-Davis said, “were so frustrated after seeing what happened in 2016 and what happened in 2018, we realized that we just had to be willing to do it, and not ask for permission.”

Conway, the executive director of VIEW Pac, agreed. While groups like hers have generally taken a back seat during primary campaigns, she said, this year, they dove in head-first.

“In all of these races where we thought we could be competitive, even if there was a guy who may have raised his hand … we didn’t stop there,” she said. “There was an eye to looking to see if there was a woman who might be a great candidate in this district also.”

She added: “If we thought she was a better match-up, we went all in for that woman.”

That tactic wasn’t always appreciated by the rest of the party. In some instances, Conway said, other conservative groups actively worked against VIEW Pac’s primary contenders. (The Club for Growth, for example, spent nearly $1 million supporting the primary challenger to Stephanie Bice, who flipped Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District red on Tuesday night.)

In other primary races, women’s groups are working against the candidate preferred by party leadership. Hill-Davis’s group, Women for Progress, even publicly slammed a member of the RNC who told Republicans not to donate to their primary candidate, saying it was “embarrassing” for party leadership that “we can’t even listen to our own advice on outreach to women.” (Of the party leadership, Hill-Davis said diplomatically, “I think we frustrate them at times.”)

But Conway said she believed that all this turmoil is building toward something greater.

“We’ve been doing this since 1997,” she said. “With the action of other groups in the last couple of cycles, and Elise doing what she’s doing, there’s been a lot of tilling of the ground, and we’ve been building on this foundation.”

She added: “Women, all of a sudden, we’re not waiting our turn anymore. And that has made a huge difference.”

Read more here.

209, 2020

Republican women could add to House ranks, but Senate outlook uncertain

September 2nd, 2020|

House ranks, but Senate outlook uncertain

Just 13 members of the House and nine senators are Republican women

Republican Beth Van Duyne, here campaigning in Irving, Texas, in February, is in a hotly contested race for the open 24th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Republican Beth Van Duyne, here campaigning in Irving, Texas, in February, is in a hotly contested race for the open 24th District. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Posted September 2, 2020 at 5:00am

Republican women in Congress sounded the alarm over their dwindling ranks after the 2018 midterms. Now, with most 2020 primaries in the rear view, they appear poised to boost their numbers in the House next year, but only slightly — while the Senate could see fewer Republican women.

A record number of GOP women ran for federal office this cycle, a promising sign for those in the party who want to boost Republican female representation from the current 13 in the House and nine in the Senate. But primaries and fundraising still proved to be obstacles.

Of the 227 Republican women who filed to run for the House, 90 were nominated. That’s a record, and nearly 70 percent above the previous the high of 53 in 2004, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University.

But not all of them are in winnable seats. Even in some of the best-case scenarios for Republicans, women would make up just 10 percent of GOP lawmakers in the House and the Senate next year.

“We’re going to have to rebuild, and we know that,” Indiana GOP Rep. Susan W. Brooks said in a Tuesday phone interview.

“All of the new women who come to Congress, new Republican women, are just going to be part of the path to rebuilding and trying to just change the dynamic for the future,” Brooks said.

By the numbers

Brooks, who led the National Republican Congressional Committee’s recruitment effort this cycle, viewed enlisting record numbers of women and candidates of color as a success.

But the number of GOP women who could actually join the House varies when taking into account their prospects in competitive races. To start with, Brooks herself and Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama are both not running again, so just maintaining the status quo in the House would require electing two more women.

Of the 11 Republican women in the House who are running for reelection, two of them — Ann Wagner of Missouri and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington — are in races that Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales rates as competitive. That leaves nine women in races rated Solid Republican who are expected to return.

Another five women won GOP primaries for open House races rated Solid Republican, so they are also likely to come to Congress. One open seat that won’t choose a nominee until November at the earliest, Louisiana’s 5th District, backed President Donald Trump by 30 points in 2016. But none of the top fundraisers in that race is a woman.

So if Wagner, Herrera Beutler and every female GOP candidate in a competitive race were to lose in November, the House roster of Republican women could still slightly increase from 13 to 14.

But if Wagner, Herrera Beutler and all GOP women in targeted and competitive races were to win in November, the number of female Republicans in the House would triple.

Of the 55 Democratic seats the NRCC is targeting, 22 have female GOP nominees. Three other Republican women are running in competitive open seats where the GOP incumbent is retiring or was defeated in a primary.

And if they all win, the next Congress could include 41 GOP women in the House. That scenario is unlikely, however, as the political environment has shifted away from Republicans. Some of the NRCC targets featuring GOP women include districts Trump lost, such as Virginia’s 10th, where Marine veteran Aliscia Andrews is taking on freshman Democrat Jennifer Wexton. Inside Elections rates the race Solid Democratic.

Of the 22 women taking on targeted Democrats, just 14 are in races Inside Elections rates as competitive. Some GOP strategists expect the number of Republican women in the House next year to ultimately be in the low to mid-20s.

Julie Conway, executive director of VIEW PAC, which is dedicated to electing more GOP women, noted that all five of the most vulnerable House Democrats are being challenged by Republican women.

“That has never happened,” she said, later adding, “All eyes are on those five seats.”

The Senate could have fewer GOP women after November, since Martha McSally of Arizona, Susan Collins of Maine, Joni Ernst of Iowa and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia are all locked in competitive races. Though former Rep. Cynthia M. Lummis did win the GOP Senate primary to replace retiring Republican Michael B. Enzi in deep-red Wyoming, so she is expected to come to the chamber next year.

In the worst case scenario, where all four GOP women in tough races lose, the number of Republican women in the Senate would likely decrease to six. If they all win, that number would increase to 10.

So even in some of the best case scenarios, GOP women would make up just 10 percent of each chamber, compared with 20 percent for female Democrats.

“At the end of the day, the goal is to have a Congress that reflects America. At this moment, the number of Republican women in office and the number of Republican women who are going to be up in the general [election] doesn’t reflect that,” said Olivia Perez-Cubas, a spokeswoman for Winning for Women, which supports female GOP candidates.

Obstacles remain

While convincing GOP women to run has traditionally been a challenge, Brooks said this year Republicans have “broken through most of the obstacles in recruitment.”

Republican women were moved to run to counter Democratic women who found success in 2018, Brooks said. Losing the House majority also presented more opportunities to run in competitive districts, with challengers taking on first-term Democrats instead of a sitting Republican in a primary.

Still, some obstacles remain. Brooks and other Republicans listed fundraising as a persistent issue for female candidates. Another, despite the record number of female nominees this year, is primaries.

“We still have a challenge in getting women through primaries. We take a lot of ‘friendly fire,’” said Conway, referring to other outside groups such as the Club for Growth or the political arm of the House Freedom Caucus spending heavily in primaries, sometimes backing a male candidate over a female one.

The NRCC does not take sides in primaries, but Brooks noted that GOP leaders, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, did weigh in on primaries this cycle, many times supporting female Republican candidates. For some, having party leaders acknowledge the lack of women as a problem was a victory in itself.

“Look how far we’ve come from when Elise said, ‘I’m not asking for permission,’” Perez-Cubas said.

She was referring to when New York GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik decided after the 2018 midterms to take sides in GOP primaries and support female candidates, which NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer said was a “mistake.” Emmer later joined Stefanik when she launched her PAC, saying, “We’re going to align with you to the extent we can.”

Perez-Cubas said groups such as Winning for Women, VIEW PAC and Stefanik’s E-PAC are working to address primary challenges that remain.

“This is a problem that Republican women have had for a very long time,” she said. “It’s not going to solve itself in one cycle.”

Winning for Women’s super PAC spent in primaries this cycle to support Texas GOP Rep. Kay Granger, who defeated a primary challenger backed by the Club for Growth, and former Irving, Texas, Mayor Beth Van Duyne, who won a five-way Republican primary for the open 24th District.

This week, the group’s super PAC launched its first TV ads of the general election, supporting Oklahoma state Sen. Stephanie Bice, who’s taking on Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn, and attacking Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer, who faces GOP state Rep. Ashley Hinson.

But boosting candidates in top targeted races isn’t the only challenge. Increasing the number of women in Congress also involves elevating female candidates in safe Republican open seats who are likely to come to Congress if they win the GOP primary.

Just five of the 20 open deep-red House seats have female Republican nominees. That group includes Marjorie Taylor Greene, who won the primary runoff in Georgia’s 14th District, despite supporting the QAnon internet conspiracy theory and voicing bigoted views.

Conway said Greene could complicate races featuring other Republican women, because Democrats may try to tie them to Greene’s extreme positions.

“When you have to start talking about the things you don’t stand for, [it’s] not ideal,” she said.

But Brooks dismissed concerns that adding Greene to the House GOP Conference could complicate races for other GOP women.

“We have an incredible diversity of opinions and views within the Republican women now, and I think we will in the next Congress as well,” she said.

Read more here.

1706, 2020

More Republican Women Than Ever Are Running For Congress: Here’s Why

June 17th, 2020|

GOP House candidate and South Carolina state Rep. Nancy Mace, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel, smiles after being recognized by Vice President Mike Pence during a speech at the The Citadel on Feb. 13, 2020. Meg Kinnard/AP

By Susan Davis

June 17, 20205:00 AM ET

A familiar tale is unfolding in American politics in 2020: women are once again setting records as candidates for Congress. While the 2018 midterms saw a historic wave of Democratic candidates and general election winners, this time the surge in candidates is among Republican women running for the House.

When the dust settled after the 2018 Democratic wave, the ranks of Republican women had been decimated. Just 13 were left standing. “It was really such a kick to all of the Republican women,” Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., told NPR, “We were really not expecting to lose as many as we lost.”

Brooks, who is not seeking reelection, was tapped to serve as candidate recruitment chair for the House GOP’s campaign operation. Along with Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, they set out to recruit more women to run this year.

It’s paid off.

“This year we’re seeing more Republican women running than ever,” said Professor Kelly Dittmar with the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. CAWP counts at least 217 Republican women who have filed to run for the House, with more state filing deadlines still to come. That’s already close to doubling the previous record of 133 filed Republican women candidates a decade ago.

Dittmar says better recruiting is part of it, but also says many women were motivated to run because of what happened in 2018. “I do think there were some women who may have seen the narrative from the last cycle — which was really the attention to Democratic women’s success and Republican women’s decline in 2018 — and sort of wanted to change the narrative to say: ‘The Republican Party isn’t bad for women.'”

South Carolina Republican candidate Nancy Mace is one of those women. She is a state representative and a single mother of two. She told NPR her daughter was the first to encourage her to run after a Democrat won her local congressional district for a seat President Trump carried by double-digits. “She turned to me the day after the November 2018 election and said, ‘Hey mommy, when are we going to take out [Democratic Rep.] Joe Cunningham?'”

Mace recently won her primary and will face Cunningham this November. She is one of many GOP women candidates with politically compelling biographies who are running this year, which also helped Mace earn the early endorsement of Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “I was the first woman to graduate form the Citadel, the military college of South Carolina, and could be the first Republican woman elected to Congress from the state of South Carolina,” she said.

The party’s candidates are also more diverse. Right now, 45 Republican women have cleared their primaries, putting the party on track to beat their previous record of 53 general election nominees back in 2004. Of those 45, nearly half are women of color. California Republican Michelle Steel, a first generation Asian-American is challenging a Democratic incumbent for an Orange County-based district. Steel currently serves in local office on the Orange County Board of Supervisors and she last won reelection with 63% of the vote, a cross-party appeal model she thinks she can replicate this November. “You know what? They see me with this accent, they see me, I’m a first generation. They all voted for me.”

Often women candidates say they don’t want the focus to be just on their gender. And that resonates with Texas Republican nominee Beth Van Duyne, who is running in an open-seat race to replace retiring Republican Rep. Kenny Marchant. “I think sometimes it’s a cop out if we concentrate on a trait rather than a whole person, and I like to think we see beyond gender and we see beyond the things that divide us but we really look at what the best things are in all of us,” she told NPR.

The gender divide is one of the starkest among key demographics in American politics right now under President Trump. According to the latest NPR/PBS/Marist poll, former Vice President Joe Biden has an 18 percentage point advantage among women over Trump — even greater than the 13 percentage point advantage that Hillary Clinton saw in 2016. In order to win in competitive and suburban races, Republican women candidates will have to convince women voters who oppose Trump to vote for them — a tricky path in a nationalized election climate.

It remains to be seen how many GOP women will ultimately win their races this November, especially when Democrats are heavily favored to maintain control of the House. Even if this is a record-breaking year for candidates, Republican women still have a longer way to go to find gender parity in their party in the House. Dittmar points out that women make up about 7% of House Republicans, compared to 38% of House Democrats. “It’s not to rain on the parade, it’s to say ok this is a start and let’s continue and see if this momentum also continues not only through the general election but also in to future cycles,” she said.

The record number of Republican women to ever serve at one time is 25. Republicans would need to net at least 15 seats to break that record this November.

Read more here.

2001, 2020

Becchi Will Challenge Sherrill Instead Of Malinowski

January 20th, 2020|

Rosemary Becchi

Becchi will challenge Sherrill instead of Malinowski

Republican congressional candidate will switch races and run in NJ-11

By David WildsteinJanuary 19 2020 12:36 pm

Rosemary Becchi will drop her bid for Congress in New Jersey’s 7th district and instead challenge Rep. Mikie Sherrill (D-Montclair) in the next-door 11th district, the New Jersey Globe has learned.

Becchi will switch from a challenge to Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Ringoes) — and a primary against Senate Minority Leader Thomas Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield) – for what is increasingly looking like a clear path to the GOP nomination against Sherrill.

Her entrance into the race provides Sherrill with the kind of well-financed  opponent that Republicans had been searching for.

So far, the only Republican to emerge as a challenger to Sherrill is Larry Casha, a former Kinnelon councilman and GOP state committeeman.

Some GOP county chairs have reached out to Casha, who appears willing to drop his House bid.

”I’m still digesting the entire thing right now,” Casha told the New Jersey Globe.

A potential self-funder, trucking company executive Jerry Langer, had explored a race against Sherrill but has not taken any steps to run.

She has not yet released her 4th quarter 2019 fundraising numbers but Becchi had raised $387,712 as of September 30, her Federal Election Commission reports show.

Sherrill has raised more than $2.6 million for her re-election campaign, including $747,000 in the last quarter, and has $2.2 million cash-on-hand.

So far, the only Republican to file is Robert Crook, an accountant who won less than 1% as an independent in 2018.

“The partisan impeachment process in Congress has been eye opening to all of America.  It shows clearly that Republicans must take back the House of Representatives,” Becchi said. “Democrat Mikie Sherrill, just like Tom Malinowski, have focused their efforts on destroying a Presidency, not fighting for solutions that we in New Jersey desperately need.

“For that reason, and after being approached by and speaking with multiple Republican leaders in NJ, I have decided to consider running for Congress in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District,” Becchi said. “I will make a decision early this week.”

She has told party leaders that she is all-in for the race against Sherrill.

Becchi’s hometown, Millburn, is in the 7th, but she lives just two miles outside the 11th district.

Carpetbagging won’t be an issue for Becchi, since Sherill lives outside her own district in the part of Montclair represented by Rep. Donald Payne, Jr. (D-Newark).

A former tax counsel to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Becchi entered the race against Malinowski last July.  Kean, the son of former Gov. Tom Kean and a legislator since 2001, entered the race in April and had raised about $1 million as of his last report.

Kean, the clear front runner, had dominated local GOP endorsements in the 7th district and had the support of House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

With Becchi out, Kean has now essentially cleared the field for his race against Malinowski, a freshman who ousted Rep. Leonard Lance (R-Clinton Township) in 2018.

The other two candidates seeking the Republican nomination, human resources executive Tom Phillips and businessman Rob Trugman, are not serious contenders.

Before going to work for the U.S. Senate, the 53-year-old Becchi was a staff attorney in the office of the chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service.  She later worked for a top accounting firm, for Citigroup and Fidelity Investments, and has been a partner at two major law firms.  She now works for Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, a Washington, D.C law and lobbying firm.

Becchi is the founder of Jersey First, a grass roots economic advocacy group.

Sherrill raised almost $8.5 million in her bid to flip New Jersey’s 11th district in 2018 and outspent her Republican opponent by an almost 5-1 margin for a seat that Republicans had held since 1984.

It was Sherrill’s early fundraising prowess – she had raised more than $1.2 million by the end of 2017 – that helped frighten twelve-term incumbent Rodney Frelinghuysen out of the race.  With a warchest of under $1.2 million, Frelinghuysen announced his retirement weeks after Sherrill announced her own fundraising numbers.

She won her House race by 46,262 votes, 57%-42%, against Republican assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) in 2018.

The 11th district has 1,500 more Republicans than Democrats and Donald Trump won it by 1% in 2016 — down from 24,176 when the district was drawn after the 2010 census.

This story was updated with comment from Becchi and Casha.

Read more here.

1001, 2020

Hinson Raises Nearly $1.1 Million in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District Race

January 10th, 2020|

State Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Marion, a candidate for the Republican nomination in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District, announced that she raised nearly $1.1 million for her campaign since she announced in May 2019. This amount includes more than $430,000 in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Iowa donors made up for 78 percent of her fundraising haul and the fourth quarter is her strongest fundraising quarter to date. She begins 2020 with more than $734,000 on hand.

“I am honored and humbled by the outpouring of support for my campaign,” said Hinson. “It’s clear that our message of bringing Iowa common sense to Washington is resonating with voters across Iowa.”

“We are excited by the momentum that continues to build for Ashley’s campaign,” said Hinson campaign manager Jimmy Peacock. “Voters know that it’s time for the 1st district to have a representative who puts people before politics and knows how to get results.”

Hinson’s financial supporters include Ernst Victory Iowa PAC (U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst), Majority Committee PAC (Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy), Eye of the Tiger PAC (U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise), Cowboy PAC (U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney), E-PAC (U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik), CMR PAC (U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers), Susan PAC (U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks), Cut the Bull PAC (U.S. Rep. Carol Miller), Martha PAC (U.S. Rep. Martha Roby), The Freedom Project (Former Speaker John Boehner), ANN PAC (U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner) and VIEW PAC.

National political forecasters believe the 1st congressional district will be one of the most competitive races in 2020. The Cook Political Report has rated IA-01 as “Toss Up”.

Hinson has a record of winning tough elections. She won in 2018 in a swing district to help hold the Iowa House majority and outperformed the Republican ticket by 5-8 points across Iowa House District 67. She won 9 of 13 precincts in her district despite Democratic outside groups outspending Republican outside groups.

An Iowa native, Hinson is the first woman to represent Iowa’s 67th House District, which covers Hiawatha, Robins, Cedar Rapids and Marion. Prior to serving in the Iowa House, Hinson was an award-winning reporter and anchor for KCRG-TV9 in Cedar Rapids. She currently lives in Marion with her husband Matt and their two sons.

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609, 2019

Republicans Want To Elect More Women — Just Not Fewer Men

September 6th, 2019|

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.”

The 2018 elections put nearly 90 Democratic women in the House. On the Republican side, there are just 13.

The 2018 elections put nearly 90 Democratic women in the House. On the Republican side, there are just 13.
1001, 2019

Republican Women Could Punch Above Their Weight in the New Congress

January 10th, 2019|

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.”

1010, 2018

Martha Roby bill to combat horrific crimes against children passes House

October 10th, 2018|

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:

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