Gonzales

This Is Why Republicans Can’t Get Women Elected to Higher Office

GOP keeps throwing up roadblocks in front of credible candidates

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention in 2016. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

I’m starting to wonder why any Republican woman would attempt to run for higher office.

Last year, GOP Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri all but announced her challenge to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill before getting the cold shoulder from GOP strategists in Washington and the Show Me State who preferred a candidate who wasn’t even hustling to get in the race.

Even though Wagner was an elected official with demonstrated fundraising ability, some high-profile Republicans encouraged donors to hold out for state Attorney General Josh Hawley. He entered the race, Wagner stayed out, and now there are some concerns about Hawley’s candidacy.

In Tennessee, GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn waited until Republican Sen. Bob Corker announced his retirement before jumping into the open-seat contest. Blackburn showed impressive fundraising potential, with $2 million in the last quarter of 2017. She finished December with $4.6 million in the bank.

Watch: ‘There’s a Big Step Between Marching and Running’: Former Congresswomen on Getting Women to Run

But now Corker is apparently reconsidering his retirement decision and wants President Donald Trump’s endorsement. The congresswoman and her team have said she won’t step aside and aren’t backing away from a potential primary. 

And recently in Ohio, the State Central Committee of the Ohio Republican Party chose to endorse state Attorney General and former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine for governor over Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. The vote was 59-2.

Taylor, who has been lieutenant governor for seven years, was the underdog in the polls and lagged in fundraising, but she asked the central committee to at least hold off on an endorsement. Even though the May 8 primary is still nearly three months away, the group apparently chose to disregard her request.

Republicans have to get better about encouraging and cultivating women to seek higher office — but at some point, they’ll also have to stop throwing up roadblocks in front of the credible women who decide to run.

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