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Rep. Roby's Surprise Exit Underscores House GOP's 'Gender Problem'

Rep. Roby's Surprise Exit Underscores House GOP's 'Gender Problem'

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Sunday, 28 July 2019 10:09 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Over the weekend, Republican operatives in Alabama and Washington, D.C., mulled over the surprise announcement Friday by Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., that she would not seek a sixth term in 2020.

Her exit at age 43 drew added attention to the fact that Republicans have lost one of their handful of female U.S. Representatives and this could spell a problem for the party.

"A simple look at pictures of the two parties' House caucuses shows one increasingly diverse, in race, ethnicity, religion and gender," said Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

But the other caucus, added Ornstein, "increasingly looks like a fraternity of middle-aged and older white Christian men. In a party with fewer and fewer women in visible position of electoral power, that is a big problem."

Few — if any — believe that the Montgomery-based 2nd District is in any danger of falling into Democratic hands.  For all but two years since 1964, Republicans have held it with little trouble and several prominent Republicans are being mentioned or floating their names as Roby’s successor.

Former State Rep. Perry Hooper, Jr., Trump’s state campaign chairman in 2016, told Newsmax he has had "a lot of people call me about running [for Congress]."

"My first priority is to help President Trump get re-elected," said Hooper, namesake-son of the late chief justice of Alabama, "But I would love serving the wonderful people of the 2nd District and helping the President implement the rest of the Trump agenda."

But whether Hooper or another conservative Republican succeeds Roby, the much-discussed "gender problem" of the GOP has been underscored by her departure. 

With Democrats comprising 89 of the 102 women in the House and Republicans only 13, the announced exodus of Roby and fellow "Class of 2010" Republican Rep. Susan Brooks may shrink the female ranks in the House further.

Two weeks ago, in the race for the GOP nomination to succeed the late Rep. Walter Jones, R.-NC, pediatrician Joan Berry was backed by several female Republican House Members and political action committees supporting Republican women.

But she lost the runoff to State Rep. Greg Murphy, who is expected to keep Jones’ 3rd District seat in GOP hands in the special election in September.

But there is bad blood remaining with Republican women.

"It's painfully clear that the recruitment of female candidates isn’t a priority to Republicans," conservative Audrey Mullen, president of the Advocacy Ink public relations firm, told Newsmax, "Their repeated excuses and rationalizations are simply embarrassing."

Rep. Tom Emmer, Minn., chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, insists this is not so.  Earlier this month, he pointed out to us that 40 percent of the candidates the NRCC has recruited to run for the House are women (At press time, there were rumblings that Twinkle Andress Cavanagh, president of the Alabama Public Service Commission and the first woman to serve as state GOP chairman, was considering a bid for Roby’s seat.)

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Over the weekend, Republican operatives in Alabama and Washington, D.C., mulled over the surprise announcement Friday by Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., that she would not seek a sixth term in 2020.Her exit at age 43 drew added attention to the fact that Republicans have lost one...
alabama, roby, ornstein, gender, trump
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2019-09-28
Sunday, 28 July 2019 10:09 PM
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