For Republican Women, 2010 Is Already A Huge Year

June 3, 2010


An unprecedented number of Republican women are running for their party’s nomination in U.S. House and Senate primaries — or are already on their way to battle Democrats in the fall midterm elections. So many are campaigning that many conservative women are anticipating strong gains in their congressional numbers come November.

“This is a breakthrough moment,” says Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, which raises money for female candidates who oppose abortion.

Fourteen Republican women are in the running for the U.S. Senate. In 2008, just three Republican women competed in the general election, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. And 94 are still vying for House seats, compared with 46 at about the same time in the primary cycle two years ago.

Also telling? Sixty of the 106 women who are challenging incumbents for House seats are Republicans — a sign, says Debbie Walsh, the center’s director, that GOP women are increasingly willing to “put their hat in the ring,” though the fall outcome remains unpredictable.

Whether spurred by concern about the economy, a pervasive anti-incumbent fervor, Tea Party activism, or former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s example — or some of all of the above — the GOP’s “shot of estrogen,” as characterized by columnist Andrew Sullivan, will get its fullest display in next week’s Republican primaries.

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