Winning for Women: Republicans invest in electing more congresswomen in 2020
Winning a seat in Congress takes money, endorsements and advertising.
That’s what Republicans are investing in candidates like Ashley Hinson.
“There are not very many Republican women who serve in Congress right now, and I want to be part of the class that changes that,” said Hinson.
Hinson is running to represent Iowa’s First Congressional District.
The election is nearly a year away, but she is in Washington, D.C. to meet with a network of Republican women. They are connecting Hinson with influential party leaders and briefing her on policy issues.
“Having their support means the world, because it means that somebody is advocating for you every day -- wanting to do whatever they can to help me get there,” Hinson said.
Part of Hinson’s support comes from the first ever super PAC (political action committee) dedicated to electing Republican women, the Winning for Women Action Fund. A super PAC is different than a traditional PAC in that it is not affiliated with a particular candidate or party, and there are no limits on spending.
“America wants to see a Congress that looks and sounds a lot more like them. And often times, a Republican woman will be the best candidate, [but] she just doesn’t have access to the right resources to get across the finish line,” Winning for Women Action Fund spokeswoman Olivia Perez-Cubas said.
Winning for Women wants to raise enough cash to elect 20 Republican women to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2020.
Part of the strategy is to focus on getting candidates like Hinson past the primary election, and then provide enough momentum to win in the general election.
As of now, Hinson will face a Republican man, Thomas Hansen, in Iowa’s June 2020 primary.
The “gloomy” outcome for Republicans in the 2018 Midterm Elections is what Perez-Cubas said motivated the Winning for Women to address the issue and put more resources toward electing women.
But competing PACs run by Democrats are currently bigger and more powerful.
“Last cycle, we raised and spent a record $110 million, which was hard work,” said Christina Reynolds, vice president of communications at Democratic PAC Emily’s List. “Every dollar still takes work. But we’ve been around for a while. We know how to do it. We’ve elected women, and those women then want to go out and help other women run and win.”
In 2018, 89 Democratic women were elected to the U.S. House. That’s compared to just 13 Republican women elected -- the lowest number of Republican women serving in the House since 1995.
For the 2020 election, Emily’s List plans to put money into defending Democratic women currently serving in the U.S. House, like Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-Iowa). She is the first ever woman to represent the First Congressional District in Iowa, and she is the one Hinson ultimately hopes to unseat.
So, money will continue to funnel in, because both Democrats and Republicans want a woman to win.
Finkenauer declined our request for an interview.