Karin Agness

Noting that women need to be asked to run for office, the report called for more efforts to encourage women to run for office. Many organizations have taken up efforts to recruit female candidates.

One group, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), which works to elect Republicans to the office of lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state and state legislator, has launched an effort to recruit more female candidates. As part of its Future Majority Project, the RSLC seeks to recruit 300 female candidates and elect at least 150 of them in the 2013-2014 cycle. The RSLC has reportedly already recruited 200 women in at least 35 states to run. For example, the RSLC has recently announced that 30 Republican women, including 27 new candidates, filed to run for the state legislature in Montana, which is made up of 150 members. These efforts to get women elected to down-ballot offices matter because these positions often are the training grounds for higher office.

At the federal level, the National Republican Congressional Committee started Project GROW, which stands for Growing Republican Opportunities for Women, to promote Republican female voices. As part of the program, female candidates are mentored by Members of Congress.

Also, a number of political action committees have been launched on the Right with creative names to support women candidates—RightNOW Women PAC was launched in January, and it joins She PAC, VIEW PAC, and others.

The report notes that the Right also needs to invest in messaging development to better counteract the "war on women" rhetoric. This is the area where there seems to be a need for a more concentrated effort. Republicans must have a strong message that exposes the hollowness of the "war on women" charge and makes the case that Democratic policies, such as the Affordable Care Act, are actually making life worse for women. Moreover, Republican leaders need to present a positive vision for how their policy prescriptions will lead to better outcomes for women and all Americans.

Republicans are making strides in reaching out to women. Yet much more work needs to be done both in anticipation of 2014 and beyond.

Karin Agness

Karin Agness is President of the Network of Enlightened Women.
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