Gays, women, and minorities are set to play a much more prominent role in the 2014 congressional elections, as both parties court them as candidates.
Potential Republican candidates include Carl DeMaio, an openly gay former city councilman who is making a bid in San Diego; Elise Stefanik, a former George W. Bush aide who is running in upstate New York, and Carlos Curbelo, a former congressional aide who is running in a Hispanic-majority district in South Florida, Politico reports
The Republican crop of House candidates almost certainly won't match the Democrats in diversity, but the party is making progress, the news organization says.
There are 40 competitive congressional districts that don't have an incumbent Republican, according to the Cook Political Report
. In at least 10 of those campaigns, a female, minority or openly gay GOP candidate has a legitimate shot at the seat, Politico reports.
Republicans say that number will grow as the elections draw nearer.
"This isn’t your grandfather’s Republican Party," North Carolina Rep. Patrick McHenry, head of recruiting for the National Republican Congressional Committee, told Politico.
"We are heading into 2014 with an extremely diverse field of candidates who are helping Republicans reach out to new voters and expand our message. They all share one thing in common: they can win their districts."
Meanwhile, Democrats are relying on women to carry the party's torch in three red-state Senate races: Alison Lundergan Grimes in Kentucky, Michelle Nunn in Georgia, and Natalie Tennant in West Virginia.
Democratic strategists tell Politico
that these women can succeed, just as female Democrats did last year, by branding their Republican opponents as anti-woman.
As for next year's battles, Grimes is set to face Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Nunn will likely run against the victor of a highly competitive primary that many Republicans are worried will result in a weak candidate.
Tennant, West Virginia's secretary of state, is preparing to face off against another woman, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, who has never been in a statewide race before.
"Defining a clear contrast for voters is the key to winning Senate races," Matt Canter, deputy executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told Politico.
"Women candidates last cycle did a brilliant job of it in some of the most competitive races in the country. There are candidates this cycle well-positioned to do the exact same thing."
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