GOP congresswoman accidentally highlights how bad her party is at electing women


Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) celebrated serving 'alongside a historic number of women' in the House, most of whom are Democrats.

Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) seems very excited about the historic gains Democratic women made in the 2018 election. In a Sunday Facebook post celebrating the 19th Amendment, Lesko wrote she is "proud to serve in the 116th Congress alongside a historic number of women!"

Lesko is correct in that there are a historic number of women in the House this year, with more than 100. But the overwhelming majority of those women are Democrats.

The 2018 election was politically lopsided, especially when it comes to new members who are women. Democrats added 35 freshmen women, including the first two Muslim women and the first two Native American women. Republicans added one lone freshman woman, Rep. Carol Miller of West Virginia, bringing the party's total number of women in the House to 13.

In the previous year, there were 23 Republican women. In fact, in the 2018 election, Republicans elected more new members named "Greg" (two) than freshman women.

While Lesko celebrates her mostly Democratic colleagues, the number of Republican women in the House could decline further in the next cycle. Two of Lesko's female Republican colleagues have already announced they will not seek reelection in 2020: Reps. Martha Roby (AL) and Susan Brooks (IN).

Even a gathering of GOP women interested in running for office lamented the dearth of resources Republicans spend to encourage them.

Democratic organizations "blanket all the [primary] races with money because they don't know who's going to rise to the top, and they want to make sure that an up-and-coming talent doesn't die on the vine for lack of money," Ruth Papazian, a Republican challenging Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), said in July. "Republicans don't do that."

In fact, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), the GOP point person for recruiting candidates in 2020, said it was a mistake to support Republican women in primaries.

Right now, the Republican Party in the House consists of 90% white men. Two of the 13 women announced they will not run again, and the lone black House Republican, Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, announced he will not run in 2020 either. While the number of Republican women dwindles, the caucus could conceivably increase the percentage of white men after 2020.

But there will be nothing to stop Lesko from celebrating all the Democratic women who are there.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.