Why Republican women face a bleaker picture in the battle for representation in Congress

Congress welcomed a record number of women in 2018 — 102 in the House and 25 in the Senate, with the 116th class becoming the most diverse group of lawmakers in U.S. history. But the new high could only be attributed to successes in the Democratic Party, including a number of historic firsts for Democratic women of color.

For Republican women, the outcome was dismal. The GOP entered 2019 with eight female senators — an improvement, but far short of the 17 on the Democratic side. And in the House, out of 197 Republicans, a mere 13 were women, compared to 23 during the last cycle.

PHOTO: Female lawmakers cheer during President Trump's State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in the Capitol, Feb. 5, 2019.

Female lawmakers cheer during President Trump’s State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in the Capitol, Feb. 5, 2019.

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‘Conservative Republican women are alive and well’: House GOP moves to close gender gap

More than that, though, the GOP — which has long shunned identity politics, at least when it comes to gender — has experienced a real attitude and cultural shift around electing more women to Congress, according to interviews with over a dozen lawmakers, candidates, operatives and aides. Women are stepping up to run, citing their gender as an asset and answering the siren sounded by party leaders — even as President Donald Trump remains divisive among women of both parties.

“The 2018 cycle was a motivating factor,” said retiring Rep. Susan Brooks (Ind.), one of just 13 Republican women in the House and head of recruitment efforts for the party’s campaign arm. “Even though we had been recruiting and helping women candidates, we realized we did need to shift some strategy and do far more.”

And so far, the initiative has paid off: 227 Republican women filed to run for

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Two Republican women could be only GOP votes against Amy Coney Barrett

Despite Senate Republicans uniting behind Judge Amy Coney Barrett as the next Supreme Court justice, the only two GOP senators who may vote against her confirmation will be two women.

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Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Maine Sen. Susan Collins previously declared they would oppose any nomination by President Trump to fill the seat once occupied by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg if the confirmation vote happened before the election. Murkowski has since indicated she would at least be willing to meet with Barrett.

“For weeks I have stated that I do not support taking up a potential Supreme Court vacancy this close to an election,” Collins said in her statement after Barrett’s nomination was announced. “But today the President exercised his constitutional authority to nominate an individual to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court left by the passing of Justice Ruth Bader

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