There are a record number of Republican women serving the in the House of Representatives, but the chair of the House GOP reelection arm says his party’s only getting started.
“Thirty-two right now, the highest number ever in our conference,” noted Rep. Tom Emmer, National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) chair.
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“But I don’t think that’s necessarily something to celebrate,” the Republican lawmaker from Minnesota added. “We got started last cycle, we had some success. Now we have to build off that success.”
While the GOP lost the White House and Senate in the 2020 elections, the party unexpectedly over performed in House races, taking a bite out of the Democrats’ majority in the chamber. And 11 of the 15 House seats flipped by the GOP last November were by women candidates.
Emmer highlighted that out of the roughly 600 Republican House candidates that have already filed to run in the 2022 midterm elections – when the GOP needs a net gain of five seats to regain the chamber’s majority – nearly 150 are women.
“I anticipate that we’re going to set a new record this time just like we did last time, because we are going to continue to add to the talent pool of women that we’ve attracted to the House,” Emmer told reporters last week.
The NRCC chair highlighted a couple of female recruits, including Esther Joy King in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, who lost to Democratic Rep. Cheri Bustos by four points last November.
The five-term Democratic incumbent announced earlier this year that she wouldn’t run for reelection in 2022 and Emmer argued that Joy King’s “the reason that Cheri Bustos is choosing not to run again and retiring.”
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He also showcased Monica De La Cruz-Hernandez in Texas’ 15th Congressional District, who’s running again after losing to Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez by three points last November. And Virginia state Sen. Jen Kiggans, who’s hoping to unseat Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria in Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. If Kiggans wins the GOP nomination, the 2022 general election in the district would be between two U.S. Navy veterans.
Emmer also touted the fundraising prowess so far of a number of freshman GOP female representatives. Among them are Reps. Stephanie Bice of Oklahoma, Ashley Hinson of Iowa, Nancy Mace of South Carolina, and Maria Salazar of Florida.
“They are leading from the standpoint that they are thought leaders within the conference, but also showing you that they are great campaign organizers and campaigners,” Emmer said. “They’re raising the necessary resources and they’re doing that job at home. I think that bodes well for us.”
There are currently 119 female lawmakers – not counting the four women non-voting delegates – in the 435-member House. They make up more than 27% of the total membership, the highest percentage of female representatives in history.
But while Republicans have made gains, Democratic female representatives greatly outnumber their GOP counterparts. Women account for 40% of all House Democrats, compared to 14% of House Republicans.
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Asked about the record number of House GOP female lawmakers, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) spokesperson Helen Kalla told Fox News that the “House Republicans’ belated recruitment effort isn’t enough to mask their out-of-touch record — like opposing the Child Tax Credit expansion, rejecting economic relief for women and families amid the pandemic, and repeatedly attacking women’s access to health care — that suburban voters in battleground districts continue to reject.”
And Kalla highlighted that “in sharp contrast, with the most diverse majority in history, Democrats delivered to get the Child Tax Credit in parents’ pockets, get working mothers back on the job sooner, and boost women small business owners as they reopen from the pandemic.”