For the last few election cycles, Republicans have demonstrated an inability to break through the glass ceiling in terms of attracting women as both voters and candidates. This year, the party has made a concerted effort to put its money into nominating and electing more female candidates, many of whom will be in attendance at a fundraiser tonight.
The reception will be attended by several key members of the leadership, including House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, reports Politico
The RISE (Republicans Inspiring Success and Empowerment) Project reception will be hosted by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Republican Conference Chairwoman and fourth-highest ranking member of the GOP leadership, and several other female members of Congress.
Besides raising funds for the class of women running for Congress in 2014, the goal of the event is to "bring this remarkable women candidates into the House Republican Conference, for new perspectives and a better future," according to the event's website
“This event is a big boost to our women candidates this cycle. It’s a testament to the dedication of Chairwoman McMorris Rodgers and all the women members of our conference have put forth this cycle to help grow our majority,” executive director Liesl Hickey tells Politico.
McMorris Rodgers has been spearheading the GOP's efforts to build on gains they made in 2010, when Republicans won the woman’s vote for the first time since Ronald Reagan.
"Our goal is to craft solutions that empower women, not make their lives harder with unprecedented spending, higher taxes, and fewer jobs. Because Republican principles offer the best for everyone: for men and women" she said at the Republican National Committee's “Taking Back the Future” Women’s Summit
Part of that effort is the "Fourteen in Fourteen" initiative, which will train volunteers to recruit other women, identify voters, support other get-out-the-vote efforts, and be Republican messengers in their communities.
Recent polling indicates McMorris
Rodgers might have more success than previously thought.
The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll
found that 47 percent of women expressed preference for a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared to 40 percent for Republicans. The seven-point margin in that poll, which was conducted Sept. 3-7, reflects a decline from the 14-point margin Democrats held just a month earlier.
In that poll, women backed Democrats by 51 percent to 37 percent over Republicans.
Jeff Horwitt, a Democratic pollster who helped conduct the poll, said those findings are reminiscent of 2010 when exit polls showed the Republicans beating Democrats among women 49 percent to 48 percent.
“The results among women in this poll should be a cautionary tale for Democrats,” Mr. Horwitt told The Wall Street Journal. “What we don’t know is if this is a trend or a blip.”
Even if Republicans win more women voters in the 2014 midterms, they will have to work even harder heading into the 2016 presidential contest, says David Wasserman of the political website FiveThirtyEight
Wasserman notes that Democrats have an advantage because of the strength of their existing network, which is key to recruiting and funding female candidates.
While the Democratic women’s campaign training organization, Emerge America, claims to have 232 female candidates running for office across the country in 2014, Republicans only have 93 Republican women running in 2014, he writes.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched “Project GROW”
(Growing Republican Opportunities for Women), an effort to recruit more women in 2014 and beyond.
In June, Carly Fiorina, a former Hewlett-Packard CEO and a Republican candidate for Senate in 2010, launched the Unlocking Potential Project
, or “UP” for short, which is focused on helping the Republicans get better organized, utilize new technology, and better message to female voters.
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