Anyone flipping through CSPAN in between football games on Saturday had an opportunity to catch a pretty ugly sight. As Rep. Lois Capps spoke out in defense of women’s rights, Republican Congressman Tom Price repeatedly attempted to shout her down, citing parliamentary procedure. This comes just a week after conservatives forced a moderate woman out of the race for the congressional seat in NY-23.
Now POLITICO has a story on the GOP’s struggles in persuading women to run for office:
House Republican leaders have spent years trying to bolster female recruitment, often with frustrating results. While the number of Democratic women willing to challenge sitting Republicans keeps rising, recruiting GOP women to challenge Democratic incumbents is becoming harder.
From 1994 to 2004, the NRCC recruited an average of 20 women a cycle to challenge incumbents, and even they won only three of those seats during the entire decade.
In 2006 and 2008, the number of female challengers dropped to 13 and 18, respectively, with only one winner, Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas.
But this isn’t a story that’s limited to Congress, which makes things all the more difficult for the GOP.
The trend is even more pronounced in the states, where Democrats control an overwhelming advantage in the legislatures that count women as a significant percentage of their members. There are 11 states where women represent at least 30 percent of the legislative districts, and we control both legislative chambers in 10 of them.
If the GOP really were serious about recruiting more women to office, perhaps that’s the place where they should start. But the example of Dede Scozzafava — who was a member of the New York Assembly before being chosen to run in last week’s special election — should raise a red flag for many.