GOP Women Launching Group

Posted June 12, 2007 at 6:44pm

A trio of female Republican lawmakers want to transfer women’s economic power into political clout — and more success for the GOP.

Sens. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Rep. Kay Granger (Texas) today will launch a group called WIN — Women Impacting the Nation.

They hope the organization will encourage Republican and independent women to get involved in the 2008 elections. WIN is a joint fundraising committee of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

“Today’s launch of WIN is very, very exciting,” said Granger, who is the highest-ranking woman in House GOP leadership. “The country is headed toward an election that promises to be historic in terms of women’s involvement. WIN will play an important role in bringing women into the process.”

Dole, the past cycle’s NRSC chairwoman, said: “After all, women today are having a greater impact on America’s economy than at any period in our nation’s history. It’s time women’s political involvement matches our economic clout.”

Backing up that statement, Lindy Harvey, the GOP operative working to get WIN off the ground, rattled off several statistics from the Census Bureau, the Center for Women’s Business Research and the Tom Peters book, “Re-Imagine!”: Women make up more than half of the U.S. population; manage 83 percent of household income; control 51 percent of the New York Stock Exchange; own 10.4 million businesses and employ more than 12.8 million American workers. American women’s businesses generate more than $1.9 trillion in revenue each year.

Republican strategist Mary Matalin is set to give the keynote speech at this afternoon’s launch event at the National Museum for Women in the Arts.

Maria Cino, one of the 2008 Republican National Convention organizers, House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), Granger, Dole and Murkowski are expected to lead the program.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) and Rep. Adam Putnam (Fla.) also are slated to attend, unless their Congressional obligations prevent them.

Representatives from the different GOP presidential campaigns are also expected to be on hand.

Republican female House and Senate Members are listed as official hosts of the event and more than 20 plan to be at the museum.

American Viewpoint, the GOP polling firm led by Linda DiVall, will survey the 170 women expected to attend on a range of issues including immigration, the Iraq War and health care.

“We’re going to have polling stations to get feedback,” Harvey said. WIN leaders want to know “is [a particular] issue important or not important? Does it motivate you to be an activist?”

Later this election cycle, WIN plans a national survey to get female voters’ opinions.

Attendees have been selected by a 12-person committee that included Granger, Dole and Murkowski. The committee invited businesswomen, civic leaders, municipal officeholders and women who lead charity groups, for example.

“It’s a combination of a group of women who have shown a real interest to get more involved and more active” in politics, Harvey said.

Dole established the Women’s Majority Network within the NRSC in 2005. Harvey, that group’s executive director, said it has been a big success and is an example of the type of group involved with WIN.

“WIN is designed to be an umbrella organization that brings all those groups together — so it’s a coalition,” Harvey said. “We’re asking women to go back to their communities and really build their networks. It’s the old ‘bring a friend’ concept,” she said. “Women like to be asked. We also want to draw in younger women; we want to mentor the next generation.”

Harvey also said the group would like to encourage more women to run for political office.

WIN will hold regular meetings in different cities where women can attend in person. They will be linked via teleconferences with Republican leaders, consultants and operatives who can offer advice and guidance, she said.

WIN also hopes to identify good communicators who can serve as surrogate speakers for the party and GOP candidates across the country.

“We salute this effort to bring more Republican women to the political process and will do everything in our power to encourage and support their efforts,” said NRSC Chairman John Ensign (Nev.). “We cannot succeed in November 2008 without them.”

Harvey said the executive committee will meet after today’s event to chart the group’s next move. Whether WIN will extend beyond 2008 has yet to be decided.

Harvey stressed that WIN is self-funded, despite its affiliation with the NRSC and NRCC.

“We’re not using donor funds of either committee,” she said. “We are looking for sponsorship. A number of Members have contributed through their political action committees” and a lot of individuals have made donations too, she said.