Washington, Nov 16: Stinging from double-digit election losses among female voters, Republicans have returned to Washington knowing they have to narrow the gender gap to prevent another defeat in 2014 or 2016.
In their first official action, the House and Senate GOP chose four women lawmakers out of 14 spots for senior leadership positions.
Washington Republican Cathy McMorris Rodgers defeated Georgia Republican Tom Price for the No. 4 position in the House GOP, a significant victory that elevates a woman as the party’s top spokeswoman, Politico reports.
Kansas Republican Lynn Jenkins became the party’s vice chairwoman and North Carolina Republican Virginia Foxx will be the conference secretary.
After exit polls showed President Barack Obama besting Mitt Romney by 11 percentage points among women, Republicans know they must be more aggressive about making policies targeting female voters and recruiting female candidates who could bolster the ranks of Republican women on male-dominated Capitol Hill.
“The party needs to do a better job of reaching out to women who are, after all, over half of the electorate,” GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine said.
“I think the Democrats have done a masterful and unfair job of painting our party as somehow anti-women. That’s not true,” he added.
“Certainly our party needs to do more to counter that impression, and electing women to leadership would help show more respect for women. But to be fair, no woman ran in the Senate [GOP leadership races] – so you can’t elect people if they didn’t run,” he added.
In the Senate, the top three Democratic leadership spots are occupied by men, but Washington Senator Patty Murray will continue in the No. 4 spot as caucus secretary.
Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow will serve as the lower-ranking vice chairwoman of the communications and policy arm.
In the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that she will again run to serve as Democratic leader in the new Congress, she’s the only women currently in House Democratic leadership, the report said. (ANI)