by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., is pushing fellow Republicans to admit they have a problem and thoroughly re-evaluate their approach to women voters, warning colleagues in Washington that a rocky relationship with this critical bloc is hobbling the party and could prove costly in 2020.
The 34-year-old, third-term Republican from upstate New York is something of an endangered species: young, female and conservative. It’s a troubling dynamic for the GOP that predates President Trump. But after Republicans lost their majority in the House of Representatives in a midterm election drubbing and saw the ranks of their women reduced to just 13 out of nearly 200 members, Stefanik decided she had seen enough.
The congresswoman launched a political organization dedicated to electing Republican women to Congress. But in an expansive interview with “Behind Closed Doors,” a Washington Examiner podcast, Stefanik conceded that her effort, while an important step, is insufficient. The Republican Party, she said, needs to undergo a culture change in how it thinks about women politically — and develop and execute a strategy to match.
“The last time we had a really strong strategy toward winning women voters was the Bush campaign when there were ‘Security Moms,’” Stefanik said, referring to former President George W. Bush’s re-election nearly 15 years ago. “We need to come up with what our 21st Century strategy is toward winning suburban voters.”