GOP aims to recruit more women candidates

May 11, 2009 at 9:16 AM
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WASHINGTON, May 11 (UPI) -- U.S. Republicans say they are trying to become a more hospitable party for women candidates even as their numbers continue to dwindle.

Even though the GOP had Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on its presidential ticket last year, there were still far more Democratic women candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives at 96 than for the Republicans, who fielded only 37 such candidates in November, the Washington publication Politico reported.

"Republican women are more reluctant to throw their hat in the ring because they don't see a lot of women like themselves in leadership or on the news," Laurel Elder, a political scientist at New York's Hartwick College, told Politico. "This idea that the GOP is just going to treat everyone fairly hasn't worked. If the GOP wants more women, they're going to have to do more than just recruit women. They need to urge them to run."

"If we are going to expand the playing field we must expand the party," said a spokesman for National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, R-Texas. "On the candidate recruitment front, we continue to focus on finding highly qualified female candidates who can effectively convey the Republican message."

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