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Bean’s successful House run in 2004 was helped by President Barack Obama’s Senate bid that same year, and female candidates nationwide are looking for similar coattails when Obama is in cycle next year. Obama will have to heavily court female voters and focus on Western states in order to win a second term, and in both instances female candidates could reap substantial benefits.
While female Democratic ranks dropped last year, Republicans made historic gains — Sen. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) was elected along with nine Congresswomen, including Rep. Diane Black (Tenn.), who now serves in leadership at the National Republican Congressional Committee. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) led female recruiting efforts for the 2010 cycle.
Schwartz, who is in charge of the DCCC’s national recruiting, said she recently traveled to Washington state and Arizona to meet with potential candidates and predicted a handful of female candidates will be announced in the coming weeks. In the meantime, Schwartz said, House Republicans are assisting in her recruitment efforts by pushing a legislative agenda that includes repealing the health care reform law and rolling back funding for Planned Parenthood.
“I think that the votes against family planning and Planned Parenthood — eliminating access for women’s health services — really galvanized women and women voters,” Schwartz said. “That’s extremely important and an indication of Republicans going way further, and addressing social issues rather than the economy and jobs, which is on everyone’s mind.”