The women who made this year's list of 100 Most Influential Republican Women often have the word “first” next to their names: First female senator from their respective states, first Hispanic female governor, first woman combat pilot, first lady.
Indeed, they are leading GOP voices at a time when the party is trying to reach women voters through a variety of channels — politics, media, business, and academics.
These women are self-styled pioneers who, despite their varied public roles, share a core set of conservative principles and beliefs.
1. Betsy DeVos — A businesswoman and generous GOP donor, DeVos won confirmation as education secretary after a bruising and partisan Senate fight, which President Donald Trump called a "very tough trial and a very unfair trial." But, there’s no disputing that the longtime school choice crusader has the opportunity now to remake the way American kids are taught.
2. Sarah Palin — While she is unlikely to run for office again, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee remains influential with a small but active wing of the GOP — mostly evangelical women and Tea Party voters. She was an early supporter of Trump and remains close to him.
Editor's Note: Trump Is #MAGA Rearming America. It’s an Investing Opportunity!
3. Elaine Chao — Half of a Washington power couple, Chao is the first Chinese-American to serve in a federal Cabinet. She served as Labor secretary under George W. Bush and now serves as Transportation secretary under Trump. She is married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
4. Susan Collins — As dean of the Senate GOP moderates, Collins already has had a series of run-ins with Trump; she didn’t vote for him last fall and has opposed his healthcare reform efforts this year. Still, she remains highly influential among centrists, from both parties, and women. Leaving Collins out of the Senate working group on healthcare turned out to have disastrous consequences for Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare.
5. Nikki Haley — Trump tapped the former South Carolina governor to be his United Nations ambassador, making her the only Indian-American to serve in his administration. Haley has struck an aggressive and independent tone at the UN, frequently challenging Russia, Syria, and North Korea.
6. Marsha Blackburn — The Tennessee congressman (she prefers to be identified that way) served on Trump’s transition team and is now serving her eighth House term. Blackburn chairs the select committee investigating Planned Parenthood, which she has urged Congress to strip of federal funding.
7. Lisa Murkowski — Appointed to her father’s Senate seat by him when he was elected governor in 2002, Murkowski later became the first woman elected to Congress from Alaska. And, in 2010, she became only the second senator ever to win a write-in campaign, defeating a Palin-backed candidate. In the Senate, she frequently aligns with moderates and was one of two female senators, along with Collins, to oppose the “skinny repeal” of Obamacare.
8. Nancy Brinker — The founder of the breast cancer advocacy organization Susan G. Komen, Brinker also served as the ambassador to Hungary and U.S. chief of protocol under President George W. Bush. Spotted in the West Wing every so often, she’s also an accomplished author, businesswoman, and host of the interview series "Conversations with Nancy Brinker" on Newsmax TV.
9. Melania Trump — Though she has maintained a decidedly low profile this year, the first lady is still building a following among Trump loyalists who appreciate her style and grace.
10. Ana Navarro — The Nicaraguan-born GOP strategist and TV pundit made a name for herself in 2016 when she became a staunch critic of Trump and his supporters. She has advised the presidential campaigns of Jeb Bush, Jon Huntsman, and John McCain.
11. Peggy Noonan — The former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan has written for The Wall Street Journal for years, and she won a Pulitzer Prize this year for, the Pulitzer committee said, “rising to the moment with beautifully rendered columns that connected readers to the shared virtues of Americans during one of the nation’s most divisive political campaigns.”
12. Cathy McMorris Rodgers — As the House GOP Conference chair, McMorris Rodgers is the party’s highest-ranking woman in Congress. She maintains a staunchly conservative voting record, drawing high scores from the Family Research Council, Chamber of Commerce, and American Conservative Union.
13. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen — The dean of the Florida delegation and most senior House GOP woman, Ros-Lehtinen is retiring in 2018. Over the past decade, she has carved out a decidedly moderate place in an increasingly conservative party. She opposed Trump’s candidacy and his immigration platform, and she voted against her leadership’s healthcare reform efforts this year.
14. Dina Powell — A former Goldman Sachs executive and State Department aide under Bush, Powell serves as deputy national security adviser to Trump. She had no ties to the current president before getting an unsolicited, post-election call from Ivanka Trump, who was interested in Powell’s work fostering women entrepreneurs at Goldman.
15. Linda McMahon — A wealthy GOP donor and former head of World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, McMahon now runs the Small Business Administration. She twice ran unsuccessfully for Senate from Connecticut, but remains an influential GOP voice on business and finance issues.
16. Joni Ernst — In 2014, the former lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard became the first female military veteran to serve in the Senate. Ernst is also the first woman ever elected to Congress from the state. Ernst, who grew up on a farm, won the primary after running a TV ad saying her experience castrating pigs shows she can cut “pork-barrel spending.”
17. Pam Bondi — The Florida attorney general was the lead attorney in an unsuccessful lawsuit to overturn Obamacare. She became embroiled in controversy in 2016 when it was reported that she dropped an investigation into Trump University shortly after Trump’s charitable foundation made a $25,000 contribution to a political group tied to her, however, Bondi was cleared of any wrongdoing by the state’s ethics commission.
18. Ronna McDaniel — The niece of Mitt Romney, McDaniel is the second woman ever to chair the Republican National Committee. As the Michigan GOP chair last year, she is credited with helping Trump score his upset win there — the first GOP victory since 1988.
19. Kelly Ayotte — Even after narrowly losing her Senate seat in 2016, Ayotte has remained a Beltway player — most recently serving as then-Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s sherpa earlier this year.
20. Martha McSally — The two-term Arizona congresswoman has an impressive military record. A retired Air Force colonel, McSally is first American woman to fly in combat following the 1991 lifting of the prohibition of women in combat. And she is the first woman to command a USAF fighter squadron.
21. Shelley Moore Capito — The first woman elected to Congress from West Virginia, Capito is the daughter of the beloved late Gov. Arch Moore. Elected to the Senate in 2014 after 14 years in the House, she has been a prolific legislator and generally aligns herself with moderates.
22. Deb Fischer — A family rancher in Nebraska, Fischer in 2012 became the first woman elected to the Senate from her state. She has had a love-hate relationship with Trump — calling on him to resign after the “Access Hollywood” tape surfaced, then reversing that call a few days later.
23. Kellyanne Conway — A ubiquitous GOP pollster, Conway led Donald Trump’s campaign to a surprise win and now serves in the White House as a counselor to the president. Conway has had some missteps, including creating the widely-ridiculed phrase “alternative facts.” But amid widespread West Wing chaos, she has managed to hold onto power.
24. Mary Fallin — In 2010, Fallin became the first woman elected governor of Oklahoma. During her second term, she was on Trump’s short list for vice president.
25. Cleta Mitchell — A longtime GOP activist and former Oklahoma legislator, Mitchell currently serves on the board of the American Conservative Union Foundation, which organizes the annual CPAC conference in Washington.
26. Karen Pence — The second lady, who met her husband Mike Pence while she was playing guitar at church, is known in their native Indiana as a quiet force who has an unusually strong influence on the vice president’s political agenda.
27. Susana Martinez — The two-term New Mexico governor is the first Hispanic woman to serve as chief executive of any state. Since winning in 2010, she is often mentioned as a possible VP nominee, although her 2016 prospects dimmed after a public feud with Donald Trump.
28. Laura Ingraham — A provocative conservative commentator, Ingraham is a popular radio talk-show host and author. She got her start in politics in the late 1980s as a speechwriter for President Reagan’s domestic policy adviser and, during this election cycle, she was rumored to be in consideration for a gig as White House press secretary.
29. Kristi Noem — This farmer-turned-congresswoman is running for governor in 2018, hoping to become South Dakota state’s first female chief executive. But Noem says she wants to repeal and replace Obamacare and pass tax reform and a new farm bill before she leaves the House.
30. Martha Roby— The conservative congresswoman is a lawyer and a staunch Trump ally who, in 2011, became one of the first two women elected to Congress from Alabama. She is touted as a possible gubernatorial candidate in 2018 but would likely face a crowded primary in the wake of scandal-tarred Republican Gov. Robert Bentley’s recent resignation.
31. Barbara Comstock — Although Comstock worked for U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft and House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, she has adopted a more moderate voice in the House representing a Northern Virginia swing district. She has maintained her distance from Trump, pulling her support last fall and opposing the Obamacare repeal this year.
32. Meg Whitman — A successful businesswoman prior to arriving in Silicon Valley, Whitman, as its CEO, grew eBay from a small startup to an e-commerce giant, and was then hired to lead Hewlett-Packard’s turnaround in 2011. She ran unsuccessfully for governor of California in 2010 against former Gov. Jerry Brown after spending $144 million of her own money on the race; however, she is still maintains a national political profile.
33. Condoleezza Rice — The former secretary of state and national security adviser under George W. Bush recently wrote a new book, “Democracy,” which has thrust her back into the national spotlight. Since the end of the Bush era, she has been teaching at Stanford University and has declined pleas to run for public office.
34. Dana Perino — As the first Republican woman to hold the post, Perino became a household name as White House press secretary under George W. Bush. Her career on camera continues today, with a co-hosting role on Fox News Channel’s “The Five.”
35. Sarah Huckabee Sanders — The daughter of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders serves as White House press secretary. Sanders, who was on duty in the days following Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, has proven to be an effective spokesman for the president during controversial times.
36. Betsy McCaughey — A former New York lieutenant governor under Republican Gov. George Pataki, McCaughey last year served as a Trump campaign economic adviser. She’s a prolific writer who for years has been a vocal critic of Obamacare. Her ex-husband is Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
37. S.E. Cupp — Sarah Elizabeth (or S.E. for short) is a TV commentator and author who is slated to host a new, primetime political panel show on HLN. While she leans right politically, she is critical of Trump and has distanced herself from CPAC because of the group’s opposition to same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights.
38. Elise Stefanik — Elected to the House in 2014 at the age 30, the Harvard-educated Stefanik is the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress. But she spent her 20s honing her GOP bona fides, working in the Bush White House and for the Romney-Ryan campaign in 2012.
39. Jean Hampton — Kentucky lieutenant governor Jean Hampton is the first African-American to hold statewide office in Kentucky and the third African-American woman to hold that office in any state. She is an Air Force captain who served in Operation Desert Storm.
40. Christine Todd Whitman —New Jersey’s first and only female governor, Whitman went on to serve as George W. Bush’s first EPA administrator. Since then she has fallen out of favor with conservatives, in part because she wrote a book in 2005 that sharply criticized Bush’s political strategy as divisive.
41. Nicolle Wallace — A former communications chief in the Bush White House and a senior adviser to the McCain-Palin campaign, Wallace parlayed those jobs into a lucrative TV career — briefly as a host on “The View” and currently as an NBC commentator and MSNBC show host. While she remains a Republican, she has been a sharp-tongued critic of Trump and GOP congressional leaders.
42. Jean Stothert — In 2013, Stothert defeated an incumbent to become the first woman ever elected mayor of Omaha, Nebraska, and the first Republican in 16 years. In May, she narrowly won re-election despite Democratic efforts to tie her to Trump. She is often mentioned as a future candidate for governor or Senate.
43. Mia Love — The first and only black GOP woman ever elected to Congress, Love, who is of Haitian descent, aligns with the Tea Party and is a popular speaker who has been widely embraced at annual CPAC gatherings.
44. Carly Fiorina —The former Hewlett-Packard CEO ran for president in 2016 and has refused to rule out a run for governor of California next year. She has the distinction of being the only GOP running mate ever selected by a candidate who didn’t win the primary.
45. Liz Cheney — After an ill-fated challenge to Wyoming Republican Sen. Mike Enzi in 2014, Dick Cheney’s eldest daughter won her father’s old House seat last year. Before moving back to Wyoming, she worked in the State Department and practiced international law in Washington, D.C.
46. Betsy Price — A longtime businesswoman and self-described “mother and grandmother,” Price was elected mayor of Fort Worth, Texas, in 2011. She faced her first re-election challenge this spring but prevailed by a 2-1 margin to win her fourth consecutive term.
47. Jennifer Rubin — A Hollywood labor attorney for 20 years before starting her journalism career in the mid-aughts, Rubin, a self-described “recovering lawyer,” currently writes the “Right Turn” blog for The Washington Post, where she has become one of the GOP’s staunchest Trump critics.
48. Ann Wagner — Currently a three-term Missouri congresswoman, Wagner previously served as the U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg under George W. Bush, the state GOP chair, and the co-chair of the Republican National Committee.
49. Meghan McCain — The daughter of Arizona Sen. John McCain has made a name for herself as a writer and Fox commentator — and a voice of the next Republican generation.
50. Laura Bush — Never one to crave the partisan spotlight, the former first lady of Texas and the USA nonetheless remains wildly popular and a quiet influence on the GOP. She has focused her post-White House activities on women’s health and education issues.
Special: Top Cardiologist Found Proof of Afterlife
51. Star Parker —In 1995, Parker founded the Center for Urban Renewal and Education. She is also a syndicated columnist who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010 in Los Angeles. Recently, she was a vocal supporter of the House GOP healthcare bill.
52. Kay Ivey — After Republican Gov. Robert Bentley was forced to resign, Ivey became Alabama’s second female governor in April. She’s working to repair the damage Bentley did to the state’s image, promising that as governor she “won't lie, steal, or cheat [or] tolerate anyone who does.”
53. Susan Brooks — A former U.S. attorney and deputy mayor of Indianapolis, Brooks has served in the House since 2013. She ran to succeed Pence as governor last year after he joined the White House ticket, drawing support from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. But state party leaders (including Pence) ultimately chose another candidate.
54. Kim Guadagno — The first-ever lieutenant governor of New Jersey, Guadagno is running this year to succeed her former running mate, term-limited Gov. Chris Christie. But given Christie’s low poll numbers, she is keeping her distance from him in this year’s campaign.
55. Sarah Chamberlain — Chamberlain, a former House GOP aide, is the only woman ever to run a GOP political organization other than the RNC. She currently serves as president of Main Street Partnership. She describes herself as a “passionate advocate of women's political engagement.”
56. Ann Coulter — A controversial conservative commentator, lawyer, and author, Coulter is a self-described pot-stirrer. She has written 12 best-selling books, including “Adios America!” and “In Trump We Trust.”
57. Marji Ross — The president of conservative Regnery Publishing since 2003, Ross is a self-described “lover of great books, grammar freak, second soprano, and football fan.”
58. Mary Taylor — The lieutenant governor of Ohio successfully climbed the ranks of state politics, from city council to Ohio General Assembly to state auditor. She plans to make a run at the state's highest office next year.
59. Beth Harwell — A former Tennessee GOP chairwoman, Harwell is currently speaker of the Tennessee House. She is running for governor in 2018 but she told the AP she won’t give up the speakership to do so. “That would be foolish,” she said.
60. Virginia Foxx — A North Carolina congresswoman since 2005, Foxx currently chairs the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Born in the Bronx but raised in the rural South, she has built a reliably conservative voting record over six terms in the House.
61. Jaime Herrera Beutler — A former aide to Washington Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Beutler is now a congresswoman in her own right — the second youngest woman currently serving in the House. She votes consistently with conservatives and strongly supports Trump’s agenda.
62. Cindy McCain — The wife of Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain is also a businesswoman and philanthropist in her own right. She has majority control of Hensley & Co., the beer distributorship owned by her late father, and she serves on several humanitarian boards, including Operation Smile and HALO Trust.
63. Jackie Walorski — A lifelong Hoosier, Walorski has served in Congress since 2013. She has scored landslide victories in a potential swing district by emphasizing national security, veterans care, taxes and regulations that challenge farmers and businesses, and poverty.
64. Jenniffer González-Colón — A veteran politician from Puerto Rico at 41, Gonzalez has served as chair of the Puerto Rico GOP and speaker of the state House since entering elected office at age 25. She is the youngest person, and the first woman, elected Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner — the island’s sole representative in Congress.
65. Karen Handel — A former Georgia secretary of state who won a tough race this year to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in the House, Handel worked in business before entering politics. A former leader of the Susan G. Komen breast cancer group, she has been a vocal opponent of Planned Parenthood funding.
66. Claudia Tenney — A freshman congresswoman from upstate New York, Tenney is a lawyer, publisher, and radio commentator. In the House, she has focused on veterans’ affairs, healthcare, and business issues affecting her district.
67. Susan Molinari — After representing New York’s 13th District in the House for seven years, Molinari went on to host “CBS This Morning ” in 1998. She now serves in Washington as vice president of public policy for Google. She has a strong political pedigree — her father and grandfather were legendary pols in their native Staten Island.
68. Mary Katharine Ham — A conservative writer who wears many hats, Ham is currently an editor-at-large of Hot Air, a contributing editor to Townhall Magazine, a CNN contributor, and a senior writer at the Federalist.
69. Marjorie Dannenfelser — A onetime staunch supporter of abortion rights, Dannenfelser is now president of the Susan B. Anthony List, which seeks to advance pro-life women politicians. She served as the pro-life coalition leader of Trump’s campaign last year.
70. Jenna Bush Hager — The younger of former President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, Hager has raised her profile since leaving the White House in 2001. She is now an NBC correspondent who appears often on the “Today” show and an editor-at-large for Southern Living magazine.
71. Heather Wilson — Wilson was the first female military veteran elected to Congress, representing New Mexico for a decade before retiring in 2009. Earlier this year, she was confirmed as secretary of the U.S. Air Force.
72. Kim Reynolds — The former Iowa lieutenant governor became the state’s first female governor in May when Republican Gov. Terry Branstad became ambassador to China. Since taking office, Reynolds has focused on trade issues, which prompted her to lead a 35-member delegation this summer to visit Branstad in China.
73. Michelle Malkin — One of the most successful conservative bloggers, Malkin founded the websites Hot Air (2006) and Twitchy (2012) before selling them off in 2010 and 2013. She is also a syndicated columnist since 1999, an author of six books, and the host of “Michelle Malkin Investigates” on the CRTV online television network.
74. Elise Jordan — A White House aide under former President Bush, Jordan is now an MSNBC political commentator and Time magazine contributor who is strongly critical of Trump. She once said that defending the president is like “hugging a suicide bomber.”
75. Tara Setmayer — An ABC News political contributor and former GOP communications director for California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Setmayer is a vocal critic of Trump, frequently tussling with the president’s surrogates on TV talk shows.
76. Leslie Sanchez — A political commentator and author, Sanchez is also the founder and CEO of Impacto Group, a market research and consulting firm. She also ran the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans under President George W. Bush.
77. Heather Higgins — An American businesswoman, political commentator, and nonprofit sector executive, Higgins works with a variety of non-profits, including the Independent Women’s Forum (IWF), of which she is chairman, and its related qualified c4, Independent Women’s Voice (IWV), where she serves as president and CEO.
78. Sue Lowden — A former Nevada GOP chair, Lowden has also been a businesswoman, television news anchor, and kindergarten teacher. Over the past 10 years, she has run unsuccessfully for Senate and lieutenant governor.
79. Jan Brewer — As governor of Arizona during the Obama administration, Brewer served as a vocal critic of the president. She has had a mixed relationship with Trump, supporting his plan to build a border wall but criticizing his healthcare reform efforts as “devastating to the most vulnerable” Americans.
80. Kimberly Guilfoyle — A former prosecutor and first lady of San Francisco, Guilfoyle is now a Fox News host who has close ties to Trump; in May she confirmed she was talking with the White House to replace then-press secretary Sean Spicer, but the job never materialized.
81. Jodie Laubenberg — A staunchly conservative member of the Texas state House, Laubenberg focuses mainly on social issues, drawing a national spotlight for her strong opposition to abortion rights.
82. Erin Stewart — The mayor of New Britain, Connecticut, launched her executive career in landmark fashion by becoming the youngest mayor in the city’s history in 2013 at age 26. Her name is already being whispered around the state in connection to upcoming elections for higher offices currently occupied by Democrats.
83. Mary Bono — First appointed to Congress to replace her late husband Sonny Bono, she went on to serve in her own right for 15 years. For many years, she was the only female Republican in California’s House delegation. Bono is now a Washington, D.C.-based consultant who focuses on the entertainment and media sectors.
84. Kay Granger — A former teacher and businesswoman, Granger in 1996 became the first woman to represent Texas in Congress. Before that, she served as the first female mayor of Fort Worth.
85. Jo Ann Emerson — Emerson assumed her late husband Bill’s seat in Congress and went on to represent southeast Missouri for 17 years. A political moderate, she resigned in 2013 to run the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.
86. Michelle Easton — As founder of the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, Easton has worked to advance conservative women role models who promote “traditional family values” and prepare young women for conservative leadership since 1993. Previously, she served in the administrations of presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
87. Bay Buchanan — A political commentator and strategist, Buchanan was a senior advisor on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. She also managed her brother Pat’s three unsuccessful bids for the White House. Previously, she served as U.S. treasurer under Reagan.
88. Amanda Carpenter — A political strategist who left journalism in 2010 to take on communications roles for conservatives like Ted Cruz and Jim DeMint, Carpenter is now a frequent commentator on CNN. She is highly critical of Trump and Republicans who she says have “enabled” him.
89. Tomi Lahren — The New York Times last year described Lahren, a commentator, strategist and former TV host, as a “rising media star,” and BBC News called her the “young Republican who is bigger than Trump on Facebook.”
90. Stacey Dash — The actress best known for her role of Dionne in the 1995 film “Clueless,” Dash is a former Democrat. She became a Republican in 2012 and a vocal conservative critic of Obama. She appeared frequently on Fox News during his second term, drawing criticism for the occasional controversial comment.
91. Laura Schlessinger — Also known as “Dr. Laura,” Schlessinger is a talk-radio host and prolific author with a conservative, provocative focus on self-help issues. Her website says her show "preaches, teaches, and nags about morals, values, and ethics.”
92. Alveda King — The niece of Martin Luther King Jr., King is a conservative political activist and former state legislator in Georgia who now appears occasionally on Fox News Channel. Founder of Alveda King Ministries, she also is a vocal pro-life advocate.
93. Kathryn Jean Lopez — Known to friends as “K-Lo,” Lopez is a conservative syndicated columnist, TV commentator, and editor-at-large at National Review Online. A graduate of Catholic University, she often approaches political issues from the perspective of the Church.
94. Beverly LaHaye — LaHaye is a Christian conservative activist and writer who founded Concerned Women for America and is the group’s current chair. Her late husband was Tim LaHaye, an evangelical Christian pastor. Time magazine once called them the “Christian power couple.”
95. Mimi Walters —A staunch conservative from Orange County, California, Walters has been a reliable GOP vote since winning a House seat in 2014. That has made her a target for Democrats, given that Hillary Clinton carried her district last year.
96. Anitere Flores — Dubbed a rising star by national GOP insiders, Flores is the first Hispanic woman to serve in both Florida’s state House and Senate. Currently in the Florida Senate, she focuses on budget, health, and public safety issues.
97. Diane Black — A registered nurse, educator, and former state legislator, Black currently represents central Tennessee in the House. She and fellow Tennessean Marsha Blackburn are the two women in the House who prefer to be called “congressman.”
98. Susie Hudson — A longtime GOP activist from Vermont who in 2015 became secretary of the RNC, Hudson is a party loyalist, having attended every GOP convention since 1992. She also served in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department.
99. Evelyn Sanguinetti — A lawyer and daughter of Cuban and Ecuadorean immigrants, Sanguinetti is the first Hispanic to be elected lieutenant governor of Illinois, and the first female Hispanic lieutenant governor in the country.
100. Vicky Hartzler — Since 2011, Hartzler has represented west-central Missouri in Congress. She is a social conservative and vocal supporter of Trump’s efforts to ban transgender servicemembers from the military.
Vote Now: What Do You Think of President Donald Trump's Job Performance?
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.