‘The year of the Republican woman’: Record-Breaking Number of GOP Women elected to Congress
This election is unprecedented and record-breaking for a whole plethora of reasons. However, one story that has been lost in all the ongoing presidential-race chaos is that a record number of female Republican candidates for both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have been elected.
“This was a huge success,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, who led the effort to get more GOP women to run for Congress, on Fox & Friends Thursday. “The story of the 2020 Congressional elections is this is the year of the Republican woman. We are going to increase our ranks. There will be more Republican women serving in the United States Congress than ever before in our nation’s history. And this was a real effort that I led to recruit and support and invest in these incredible women.”
These women follow in the footsteps of their Democratic counterparts back in the 2018 midterms, who elected a record number of women to the lower house of Congress. With millions of ballots still being counted, at least 12 new GOP women will call the House their place of employment for the next couple of years, according to Reagan McCarthy of Townhall. This all goes without mentioning the 10 incumbents that have won re-election so far.
By the estimates of Politico’s Ally Mutnick, we’ll see at least 22 GOP female House reps at the start of the next Congress in January.
The Senate races that GOP women won—or are currently leading in—saw incumbents win for the most part; those states being Maine (Sen. Susan Collins), Mississippi (Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith), Iowa (Sen. Joni Ernst), and West Virginia (Sen. Shelley Moore Capito). The only new female member of the Senate GOP will be former Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis, who handily but unsurprisingly won in deep-red Wyoming.
Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to fill a vacant seat, is currently facing a brutal and crowded special election. Ballots in the state are still being counted, so the results are not yet official. At the time of publication, she is trailing her Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock by over six points but neither candidate is remotely close to having 50% of the vote. More likely than not, there will ultimately be a runoff election between her and Warnock—and it will be one of the most contentious, if not the most contentious, Senate race in the country as Democrats try to erode the Republicans’ majority in the upper chamber.
Sen. Martha McSally, who was appointed to fill the vacancy of the late Sen. John McCain and his appointed successor Sen. Jon Kyl, also faced a special election. The odds were not in McSally’s favor, however, losing by slim margins to astronaut Mark Kelly in a landmark defeat for Republicans in a once-reliable state.
The Republican Party has historically had trouble appealing to women voters, something which has grown markedly worse in recent years under President Donald Trump. Amidst some chatter about Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) possibly climbing up the House GOP leadership ladder after the election and maybe even becoming the Speaker of the House down the line, and this new crop of congresswomen and senators, this could potentially be a turning point for the Republican Party as its future—unclear as it is—is being shaped as we speak.
As the election soldiers on, more House and Senate races will be called and the more we will know about the make-up of the 117th United States Congress.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.