Republicans Circulate List of Top Female House Candidates

Wagner is a Missouri Republican. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The end of primary season is nigh, and Republicans are now optimistic their slate of House candidates will yield a net gain of female members in the conference after November.   

Republicans are now focusing their efforts on a specific slate of top female candidates with a strong chance of coming to Congress.   

On Tuesday morning, a top aide to Rep. Ann Wagner, a Missouri Republican and leading voice in the conference for women, emailed Capitol Hill colleagues and K Street allies to highlight these female candidates, according to an email obtained by CQ Roll Call.  

"As many of you know, my boss, Ann Wagner (MO-2), and Congresswoman Diane Black (TN-6) have worked over the last year to recruit, support and promote Republican women candidates for Congress across the country," wrote Christian Morgan, Wagner's chief of staff. "As we are winding down Primary season, I wanted to send you a list of our top candidates."

Morgan named the following candidates:
  • Retired Air Force Colonel Martha McSally, who is challenging Democratic Rep. Ron Barber in Arizona's 2nd District.
  • State Sen. Mimi Walters, who is facing marginal opposition in the open-seat race for California's 45th District.
  • Former Iowa Department of Public Health Director Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the GOP nominee to challenge Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, in the Hawkeye State's 2nd District.
  • State Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, who is in a runoff for the GOP nomination in the open-seat race in Oklahoma's 5th District.
  • Former White House staffer Elise Stefanik, who is the GOP nominee in the open-seat race for New York's 21st District.
  • Former Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love, the GOP nominee in Utah's 4th District.
  • Virginia Del. Barbara Comstock, the GOP nominee in Virginia's 10th District.
  • Former Rep. Nan Hayworth, the GOP nominee to take on Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-N.Y., in the 18th District.
  • Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Wendy Rogers, who is in a competitive primary in Arizona's 9th District, the winner of which will challenge Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.
  • State Rep. Darlene Senger, the GOP nominee to challenge Democratic Rep. Bill Foster in Illinois' 11th District.
Three of those contenders — Love, Walters and Comstock — are favored to win their races, according to the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call race ratings. If they do, the House GOP conference will gain one female member.

Three other female candidates have an even chance of coming to Congress: McSally and Stefanik are running in Tossup races this November, and Douglas faces similar odds in her runoff. If she wins the 5th District nomination, Douglas is all-but-assured to win this November.  

A win among any one of those contests means that the party will have a net gain of women in the fall. None of the 17 female members in the conference seeking re-election have significant challenges in November.  

Three more female candidates are less likely to win, according to Rothenberg ratings: Rogers, Hayworth, Miller-Meeks and Senger. Rogers will run for her party's nod in late August.   

There are currently 19 women in the House Republican conference. But House Republicans started this election year with a net loss of two female members: Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., is running for Senate, and Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., planned to retire.

Amid an environment where Democrats relentlessly branded the GOP as hostile to women voters the party initiated "Project GROW," which aimed to help female candidates and support outreach to female voters. The program had some rocky moments earlier this year.

Project GROW bet on two Florida special election candidates who were unable to win their primaries. And four additional female candidates lost open-seat House primary races in Georgia, West Virginia, and California.  

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