SPOTLIGHT

Lost in the Male

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: U.S. Senate Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (C) speaks to the media as (L-R) Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) listen after their weekly Senate Republican policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol, February 26, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Republican leadership spoke about the GOP agenda and the possibility of sequestration and its economic impact.
National Journal
Alex Roarty
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Alex Roarty
Jan. 28, 2014, 6:45 a.m.

Two out of 33. That’s how many wo­men are run­ning ma­jor Re­pub­lic­an Sen­ate cam­paigns this cycle. Savvy polit­ic­al hands know that cam­paign man­agers take a back seat to con­sult­ants and oth­er seni­or ad­visers, but it’s still a telling stat­ist­ic about the re­l­at­ive lack of wo­men in im­port­ant polit­ic­al po­s­i­tions in­side the GOP, one that has some strategists wor­ried the party doesn’t have the best-pos­sible per­son­nel to reach out to fe­male voters in 2014.

— In most cases, fe­male Re­pub­lic­an strategists don’t blame overt sex­ism for their lack of rep­res­ent­a­tion. In­stead, they think the party simply doesn’t do a good enough job re­cruit­ing and then re­tain­ing young wo­men, the kind of tal­en­ted op­er­at­ives who can one day run a big-time cam­paign. When can­did­ates chose their man­ager, there simply aren’t many qual­i­fied wo­men from which to choose.

— Their ab­sence is also felt in the con­sult­ing class, where wo­men are badly out­numbered by men. Many wo­men do hold im­port­ant jobs in com­mu­nic­a­tions and fin­ance, but neither is the kind of job that leads to jobs at the ma­jor con­sult­ing firms that of­ten make a cam­paign’s big de­cisions.

— Re­pub­lic­ans point out the party has made strides: The NR­CC, for ex­ample, is led by Ex­ec­ut­ive Dir­ect­or Liesl Hickey and Deputy Ex­ec­ut­ive Dir­ect­or Jes­sica Furst. And the largest Re­pub­lic­an cam­paign in the coun­try, Flor­ida Gov. Rick Scott‘s reelec­tion ef­fort, is run by a wo­man: Melissa Sellers. And at the NR­SC, a spokes­wo­man says half the staff — in­clud­ing sev­er­al in key polit­ic­al po­s­i­tions — is now fe­male.

Re­pub­lic­ans are cog­niz­ant the party needs to add more wo­men to their ranks. But do­ing so will take time — as the 2014 Sen­ate cam­paigns are find­ing out now.

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