How Women Led the Way as the GOP Made Gains in the House

One of the ancillary effects of the Democrats gaining 41 seats and taking control of the House in the 2018 midterms was that it left the GOP with its fewest number of female representatives in 25 years. Only 13 Republican women out of 52 won their races, and up-and-coming figures like Mimi Walters and Mia Love were not among them. How long would it take for the party to recover?

Not long, as this election cycle proved. At least 28 Republican women won House races this year, and they made up an overwhelming majority of the flipped seats in the chamber. While much attention has been paid to extremist candidates like Marjorie Taylor Greene in Georgia and Lauren Boebert in Colorado, the other incoming female Republicans include entrepreneurs, seasoned journalists, and career public servants.

Despite months of polling to the contrary, Republicans—through grassroots recruitment, campaigning, and fundraising—flipped up to 14 House seats. And women won at least nine of those races. (Mariannette Miller-Meeks is expected to win Iowa’s 2nd District but after a recount her lead is only six votes.) 

They won by touting their commitment to economic growth, slashing regulations, and promoting industries important to their district. And in some cases by connecting their opponents to the Democratic party’s far-left fringes. Maria Elvira Salazar unseated Rep. Donna Shalala in Florida’s 27th District by decrying socialism, while Nicole Malliotakis successfully aligned Democratic incumbent Max Rose in New York’s 11th District with progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the minds of voters.

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