National Republican Congressional Committee's Project Grow
The NFRW met today with members of the National Republican Congressional Committee and other interested organizations as the NRCC laid out details of its "Project Grow," intended to recruit and support female candidates running for Congress and to engage women voters.
Interesting statistics were shared regarding the women's vote in the country and female candidate numbers. While Republicans garnered the majority of votes of married women and Caucasian women in the 2012 election cycle, they lost most of the minority women and young women voting block. It is important to note that 8 out of 10 voting women have children and are focused on issues involving children and family.
Of the 1,101 GOP candidates in the last election cycle, only 109 were women. While 58 of the 200 Congressional Democrats are women, only 19 of the 231 Republicans in Congress are women. More of an effort needs to exist to help women candidates get to the next
level. Project grow intends to increase female voter engagement and recruit mentors for female candidates who step forward. It has been found that women really do need to be asked to run for office and time and energy need to be invested to recruit more women to run.
Results from previous elections show that money was the biggest factor in female candidate losses to males. Most big Republican donors are males and men seem less likely to write out a 'max-donation' check to a woman than to a man. In addition, female donors do not seem to give 'max-out' donations as frequently as do men.
Relationships are also an impediment to recruiting women to run for office. More voters in general seem to know men who run for office for longer periods of time than they know women who run for office for long periods of time. This longer term familiarity makes male candidates more attractive to voters.
When it comes to messaging, it has been found that Republican women do not accomplish positive messaging as easily as their opponents. We need to tell women how bad Democrats are for them coupled with the positive message that we do care about them and how our policies help women.
Project Grow has identified 14 women running in Congressional primaries across the country. Training in effective messaging, engaging the women's vote and fundraising, among other campaign training elements, are being made available to these female candidates as they are made available to all GOP primary candidates.