Hearing Them Roar

Dole Wants More Women Involved

Posted May 18, 2005 at 6:17pm

The National Republican Senatorial Committee, chaired by Sen. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.), is stepping up efforts to reach out to women voters in the 2006 cycle — launching a new program that aims to bring more females into the GOP fold.

Dole, the first woman to head the NRSC, will unveil the new Women’s Majority Network this

week. A steering committee of women leaders from around the country is being finalized and will be announced at a later date.

“Throughout my career in public service it has been a goal of mine to get as many women as possible involved in the political process,” Dole said in a statement. “This exciting new initiative will do just that.”

Dole is modeling the program after similar outreach efforts during her 2002 Senate and 2000 presidential campaigns, when she met women who weren’t involved in the political process beyond the act of voting.

Dole, also the first woman Senator elected from the Tar Heel State, has hired Lindi Harvey to lead the new effort.

Most recently, Harvey was deputy director for international women’s issues at the State Department. She has also worked in the private sector, as a business and financial service adviser for more than 20 years.

“I am thrilled that Lindi has agreed to lead this groundbreaking program to encourage women to become involved in the NRSC efforts to increase our Republican majority in the U.S. Senate,” Dole said.

The Women’s Majority Network will also be used as a tool to increase female participation in the handful of donor programs the NRSC currently runs.

According to Democratic polling conducted in November 2004, there was a 7-point gender gap in last year’s presidential contest, with 48 percent of women and 55 percent of men voting to re-elect President Bush. While a slight majority of women voted for Sen. John Kerry (Mass.), the Democratic nominee actually lost ground among female voters when compared to the 2000 election results.

Last year, 51 percent of women and 44 percent of men voted for Kerry.

As the NRSC increases efforts to get women more involved in local politics, there are currently no top-tier Republican women challengers in 2006 Senate races.

GOP Reps. Katherine Harris (Fla.) and Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) are both weighing Senate bids against Democratic incumbent Sens. Bill Nelson and Robert Byrd, respectively.

Republicans could actually end up with one less woman in the Senate after 2006, if no new women are elected and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) vacates her seat to run for governor, as is expected.