More Republican Women Running for Congress Due to Economic Issues

More and more women are feeling empowered enough to enter politics and run for office.

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By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

According to Liz Halloran at NPR (a former U.S. Newser), an unprecedented number of Republican women are either running in House and Senate primaries this summer or have already won them. “So many are campaigning that many conservative women are anticipating strong gains in their congressional numbers come November,” Halloran reports. This is great news--no matter what your political views--as more and more women are feeling empowered enough to enter politics and run for office. It’s always good for our democracy when more Americans want to participate in politics.

In the Senate races, 14 Republican women are running, up from just three in 2008, according to the Center for American Women and Politics. In the House, 94 are in the running, compared with 46 at about the same point in the political cycle two years ago. Most interesting, there are 106 women who are challenging incumbents for House seats, and over half--60 of them--are Republicans. According to Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center, this is a sign that GOP women are more likely to throw their hat in the ring than ever before.

[See the women of the Senate.]

That’s because more than ever before, women are motivated by “kitchen table” economic issues, such as government spending and the growing national debt, and the economic effects these will have on our children. That’s not a surprise, given recent studies showing that in most families, more women than men worry about their retirement funds, are responsible for most family healthcare decisions, are the majority of online billpayers, and make most purchasing decisions. According to the NPR story:

Indeed, polling done for the RNC shows that the major issues for target voters are government spending, including health care costs, and the national debt. Those economic issues trump all others for both men and women. Abortion and Wall Street oversight ranked the lowest in terms of importance to voters surveyed.

This isn’t about traditional “women’s issues” like child care and abortion. We’ve moved beyond those, as important as they are. The political debate is now--and will be for a long time--about the size and scope of our government, and the debt we’re leaving for the next generation. Many women are so concerned about what’s going on economically that they’re willing to put themselves out there as candidates. That’s not an easy thing to do, and I give them a lot of credit. Whether they win or lose, 2010 is a landmark year for conservative women in politics.