There’s also a historic number of women of color who’ve been elected to Congress: According to CAWP, newly elected Black women, Latina women, and Asian American and Pacific Islander women all broke records in the House. Some outlets have also noted that Rep. Yvette Herrell — a member of the Cherokee Nation — adds to the number of Native American women in Congress as well, though Herrell has told CAWP that she identifies as white
Republican wins this year stood out, especially after the number of GOP women in the House dipped dramatically in 2018. That year, the ranks of Republican women in the lower chamber went from 23 to 13, while Democrats’ grew from 64 to 89. (Republicans will have at least 27 in the new term.)
At the time, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said that Republicans had reached a “crisis level” of women in the House.
That “crisis” has since spurred more GOP groups — including Stefanik’s Elevate PAC — to boost women candidates, particularly at the primary level where there hasn’t historically been as much support. On the Democratic side, Emily’s List has been integral to backing candidates at the primary stage of the race, and Republican organizations are increasingly working to replicate that model.
This year, that effort ramped up, according to Kodiak Hill-Davis, a founder and political director of Republican Women for Progress, a group dedicated to providing training for GOP candidates. “Without getting these women through the primaries, you can’t get them through the general election,” she told Vox.
A growing number of organizations — including Winning for Women, VIEW Pac, and E-PAC — are among those dedicated to this effort, which includes financial investment and endorsements that highlight women candidates. “In addition to any funding they’ve been able to provide, they also send a signal,” [Rutgers politicsl scientist Kelly] Dittmar said.
Indiana Rep. Susan W. Brooks made a point of telling her Republican colleagues this week about several new candidates who are women and people of color.
“It’s important that we, as a conference, do a better job of looking like America, and better representing the very diverse country that we have,” Brooks, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s recruitment chair, told Roll Call after Tuesday’s meeting of the GOP conference.
Brooks said she told lawmakers it was important to recruit a diverse group of challengers for the 2020 election following devastating losses in 2018. She said she is well aware that just 13 of the 197 House Republicans are women and just nine are not white.
That plan started with changing the way our Party recruited candidates. With help from my fellow Members of Congress serving as Recruitment Captains, we went out looking for candidates who uniquely fit their district, reflect the diversity of America, and can win competitive races. We didn’t stop because one person announced they were running. We kept looking for the best candidates in these districts to win in November. Our Recruitment Captains prioritized creating a Republican conference that better reflects our diverse national Republican Party.
With support from Chairman Tom Emmer and others like Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, whose leadership PAC, Elevate-PAC, is designed to help elect Republican women, we are putting ourselves in a position to elect more Republican women to the House of Representatives. A record 200 women have filed to run for the House this cycle which demolishes the previous record.
Stefanik has become the face of efforts to boost Republican women in Congress. She was in charge of recruitment for House Republicans in 2018, an abysmal year for GOP women. Among the 13 women elected to the House from the Republican Party in the midterms, there was just one nonincumbent candidate.
After that, Stefanik clashed with National Republican Congressional Committee chair Tom Emmer over whether the party should do more to boost women in primaries. Emmer told a reporter that would be a "mistake." Stefanik, for her part, focused her energy on building up her leadership PAC, E-PAC.
Her committee promoted more than two dozen candidates and gave $415,000 to Republican women, including Fischbach.
Stefanik credits the candidates with their wins, but she also feels that she played a key role.
"What I believe is different this cycle is I publicly made this a priority for the Republicans I served with in Congress," Stefanik said. "I very publicly said at the end of the midterms in 2018 that we needed to do better."