Republicans Develop Strategy to Win Over Women

Tuesday, 06 May 2014 12:26 PM

By Melanie Batley

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The Republican Party is making a concerted effort to win over women in the coming election cycles, acknowledging its past losses to Democrats among female voters and the importance of their vote for the party's future.

The effort began shortly after the 2012 presidential election, when Mitt Romney lost the women's vote by 11 percent, National Public Radio reported. Every major GOP group, including the National Republican Congressional Committee, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Republican National Committee, College Republicans, and others, began working together to develop a cohesive strategy.

Most recently, after some polling, focus groups, and months of meetings among party operatives, the GOP decided it would use a political holiday, Equal Pay Day, to highlight the party's commitment to women. The move would directly challenge the space Democrats were monopolizing through their push for the Paycheck Fairness Act.

"I'm sure you're aware that today is Equal Pay Day," Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress, said at a news conference on April 8, according to NPR.

"As a woman, and as one that has two daughters, I've always supported equal pay for equal work, as have all of us. And we're promoting as Republicans those policies that are going to empower women and everyone."

RNC Press Secretary Kirsten Kukowski told NPR, "We kind of said we're going to have an aggressive posture on this. We're going to show women, we're going to show D.C. and the political world that we're not going to take a back seat to this anymore. We're going to be aggressive on this messaging."

The polling indicated that if the GOP was going to gain traction, it was important for Republicans to make an economic argument related to equal pay, emphasizing that more regulation would hurt women and all employees.

"You know, it's kind of like football. If only the defense is working and the offense isn't, you're not going to win the game," Andrea Bozek, communications director for the NRCC, told NPR.

"Women are 54 percent of the electorate," she added. "They aren't a coalition, they are the majority, and if you aren't actively engaging with women voters, you're going to lose."

McMorris Rodgers said Republicans have allowed themselves to be "branded" in a way that isn't representative of the party's views, and she has been working with House Republican lawmakers and candidates to train them on how to communicate with women so they know what Republican policies could do for their families, NPR reported.

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