Solutions to improving the number of GOP female elected officials?

I've had a little time for noodling on my post from this noon, and I don't think there's an easy or quick fix. As mentioned, I think the problems are threefold; Ability (time constraints), Fundraising/networking, and bucking tradition. Any of those can be tough to solve.

So, what are my suggestions to improve the recruitment/election of female candidates for the GOP?

Similar to the outreach committee the GOP has formed to improve electoral efforts within the Native American community, an entity should be created to cultivate women candidates. Yes, before you say it, I'm aware of the existence of Republican Women's Auxilliary. But that group's focus is on being an auxilliary. They are a volunteer force without equal. What I have in mind is something different.

Talking to a couple elected women who happen to be Republicans, why is that organization difficult for them? They go to work, take care of their families, serve on a municipal or school panel, often also belong to a service club, and now here's an organization that wants them to pay dues and go to a meeting that they simply don't have time for. The people I know want to give 100% to any group they participate, but in this case, they are stretched so far, they can't, so they don't.

What I think is needed, is simply a support framework. No monthly meetings, no dues. But what it provides is a network of elected Republican women to offer mentorship, suggestions, and once or twice a year, seminars or large gatherings that provide an exchange of campaign information. It would provide weekly campaign and candidate tips via e-mail, website, and possibly with a monthly newsletter. Young Republican women candidates aren't looking to give up more of their time - but what they are looking for is support, and help to make them more competitive in preparation for "the big leagues." If that support structure is there, the candidates will come.

Fundraising is a different problem. In order to promote better fundraising habits, the use of raffle tickets to raise money by any entity affiliated with the Republican Party should be banned.

I hate raffle tickets. I really hate selling them. I hate buying them just as much. They are an example of a lack of creativity.

True Story. When I was out in Rapid City, I was at a meeting of "a Republican auxilliary". They wanted to raffle off a crocheted quilt and have everyone show up at a free potluck picnic for the drawing. Being Mr. Helper, I offered "Instead of selling raffle tickets at $1 a pop, why don't you hold a family picnic, and I'll arrange for a free hog to be roasted. You can sell event tickets to that for $10-20 each, and you'll raise your money much faster.

Once again, it was like I farted in church. I should have known better.

When people are working in a group setting raising money, they need to be able to think outside of the box, and look for creative solutions. They need to set a high goal, and acheive it. Don't look to make $200 on a raffle - look to make $1000 or $2000 on an event. That's how you learn how to do fundraising on a level commisurate with running a partisan election. Creativity, and thinking broadly. $200 should be considered a single donation - not a fundraising drive goal.

When people involved at the grass roots understand they can raise money by the thousands, and not hundreds, we will have a greater bank of candidates to draw from.

Then there's that other obstacle. Tradition. Not an easy nut to crack at all. The only way I know of to overcome tradition is to set a new one.

In Pierre, I know of three elected Republican women on any level. But only rarely do I see them visible in public talking about being a Republican. As someone with 5 daughters, this concerns me. I want my girls to have positive role models who can show them it's alright to believe they can run for office someday. They need someone setting a new tradition for them.

While they will ultimately make their own choices, it would make their dad's heart swell with pride to see them running under the Republican banner.

Good visible role models aren't something that's going to pay off tomorrow or next year - but give it a few years, and it will pay the greatest dividends of all.

Aside from changing party platform planks (yes, I've heard that already), what other suggestions are out there? Because for my daughters' sake, I'd like to hear about it.


Anonymous said…
Didn't Randy Fredrick try this idea during the last election, only to have it blow up in his face. He put liberal RINO women on the panel and one of them later quit the GOP executive committee. There are plenty of opportunities for women. We don't need to adopt the democrat quota or victim structure. Good GOP women are and will remain viable candidates, just like men.
PP said…
No. Not that I recall. This is brand new.

This isn't a formal group, just a support structure, providing information and networking opportunities.

Have the democrats tried this? Not that I know. It's meant to be closer to the model that Republicans used in Pennsylvania.

Besides, good strategists take good ideas and make them their own, regardless of the source.
Anonymous said…
Part of the GOP’s problem is that they demand purity from their candidates and they eat their own. 2 good republican women incumbents, who had each served 2 terms, went down in the last primary because they only voted the party line 90% of the time instead of the mandatory 100%.

PP, you tried to make the point that the democrats have the same problem in Pierre. Although the numbers aren’t great, there are almost as many democrat women elected as republican woman. As a percentage of the caucus, the dems have a much greater number. They also have 2 women serving in leadership. I don’t believe there is a single woman in the republican leadership.

Just some food for thought.
Anonymous said…
I talked to a delegate at last year's convention who, along with the other female delegate at her table, nearly walked out due to the "young turks" (read, 20 yr. olds in positions of authority) at her table that offered, arrogantly, no flexibility whatsoever on several issues. Good luck w/women who are even slightly moderate...why do you think Herseth is seen as such a Rockstar among the 20-40 year old crowd.
Anonymous said…
P - why isn't the GOP leadership, in general, cultivating the best candidates? male or female. It seems illogical to just pull out one gender for support or recognition. Even in SD, female candidates need to garner votes from male candidates to win - so having help from both genders is important. The male candidates would do well to listen to women leaders as well.

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