GOP women hug guns in house races


Tiffany Shedd, who is running for the House in Arizona, reenacts a moment in which she is drew a gun to defend her family when she saw what she said there were drug traffickers on her land near the border.

Genevieve Collins says be a Texan woman “Means you know how to shoot, clean and eat your prey one day, then put on your dress and work in a boardroom the next.”

Many Republican women struggling to reclaim seats in the Democratic Parliament embrace guns and display physical strength in their campaign ads to show their support for stricter border security, Second Amendment rights, and loyalty to President Trump. At the same time, they are attacking the Democrats’ proposals and avoiding talking about bipartisan cooperation in these contested districts.

Female candidates are at the heart of the Republican Party’s efforts to rebuild his ranks after heavy losses in 2018 that left the party in the minority in the House of Representatives. More than 220 Republican women ran for the House of Representatives in this cycle, a record. Of these, more than 50 Republican women have secured their party’s nomination, and several more are in the runoff, with several primaries pending.

“These Republican women aren’t just tough – they’re tough,” said Torunn Sinclair, spokeswoman for the House of Representatives GOP campaign. She said the Democrats in the House of Representatives in the competitive districts had “broken their promises to be representatives of the middle class.”

GOP hopefuls “will do whatever it takes to distract from their positions and records that would make health care more expensive for ordinary Americans and obedience in lockstep,” said Cole Leiter, spokesman for the Democratic Congress election committee.

Republicans want to close too a large gender gap with the Democrats. Republicans currently have only 13 women in the House of Representatives, up from 22 in the previous Congress. The block of dark suits on the left of the podium contrasts sharply with the 88 women across the aisle. The Democrats hold a majority of 233 MPs versus 197 Republicans and one Independent.

“That picture really needs to change,” said Lisa Scheller, a businesswoman as she challenges Democratic MP Susan Wild for a seat in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. “Women rise in record numbers, we bring a unique perspective and a necessary one.”

Republican candidate Genevieve Collins advertises her Texan roots and her pro-business and “pro-god” attitudes in political ads.

While GOP candidates’ ads vary, many tell stories of being mothers and overcoming adversity, which could help them with conservative voters. Ms. Scheller, for example, has a display showing her cycling on long country lanes while discussing her record for running a business and her past battle against addiction.

Kelly Dittmar, a researcher at the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics, said the ads help candidates tick many boxes.

“You have to demonstrate, don’t worry, I’m a really good, solid wife and mother too, but I also meet these otherwise male parts of the office – I’m strong, I’m tough,” said Ms. Dittmar. who analyzed how Republican women ran in 16 competitive house races, noting that many placed an emphasis on guns and gun rights.

Democrats said their candidates often show toughness and address concerns of local voters. New Mexico Democratic MP Xochitl Torres Small, who beat Ms. Herrell in 2018 and faces a rematch this year, aired an ad in 2018 firing a hunting rifle while talking about a “shot to a better future.”

Tiffany Shedd, who faces an Arizona area code in August, vows to work with President Trump to secure the border.

Ms. Herrell argued that she would be stronger on gun rights. “The protection of the second amendment has always been one of my top priorities,” she said in a statement.

After losing their majority in the House of Representatives at halftime, Republican women recruited to rebuild their ranks. Incumbents like MP Elise Stefanik (R., NY) and external groups looked after women in primary elections and gave them money.

“We’re not going to get to 218 just with white men,” said former MP Barbara Comstock, a Republican who represented the suburbs of Northern Virginia until the 2018 defeat. The fewer GOP officers mean there are more open primaries for Republicans to stand up for women, she noted. If all 435 seats in the House are occupied, 218 are a majority.

ONE Study by the Public Religious Research Institute 2016 found that Republican voters were more likely than Democrats to prefer traditional gender roles, such as a husband at work and a wife at home. In the poll, 44% of Republicans believed that society was better off when men and women played traditional roles, while 51% disagree. By comparison, 65% of Democrats disagree with this view.

Many Republican candidates in competitions also emphasize their opposition to progressive political proposals like the Green New Deal. You run largely with Mr Trump, despite his low approval numbers.

Lauren Boebert defeated a five-year-old Republican representative in a Colorado primary last month after emphasizing her passion for guns.


McKenzie Lange / The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel / Associated Press

In contrast, New York MP John Katko – one of the few GOP lawmakers to retain seats in districts won by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016 –published its first ad last week. It mentions the words “non-partisan” or “non-partisan” five times in 30 seconds.

An emphasis on weapons can be risky. In February, Georgia Senator Kelly Loeffler posted a video of herself walking in hunting gear while holding a rifle. But when the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reported that she did not have a hunting license, her main antagonist, Rep. Doug Collins, mocked her on Twitter. Ms. Loeffler’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

The focus has given other candidates a boost. In a surprise last month, Lauren Boebert defeated five-year-old GOP representative Scott Tipton in a Colorado primary underlines her passion for weapons and doesn’t call her opponent sufficiently conservative.

Ms. Shedd, of Arizona, who faces a primary in August for the right to challenge Democratic MP Tom O’Halleran, said her political ads are based on personal experience. In 2006, she said she had confronted men who crossed her property when she was six months pregnant. The men backed away, but if they hadn’t, she would have shot to kill.

“I don’t think we are trying to show that we are tough, but that we have done hard things,” said Shedd, supported by Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy (R., California).

Another GOP candidate, Nancy Mace, highlights her record as the first woman to graduate from the Citadel Cadet Corps in 1999. She will run against Rep. Joe Cunningham, a freshman Democrat in the South Carolina Low Country.

“I’ve really tried to tell my story, and my story is that I’ve broken a barrier all my life,” said Ms. Mace.

Nancy Mace, the South Carolina Republican nominee, says she has “been a barrier all my life”.

Corrections & enhancements
In an earlier version of this article, the last name of Cole Leiter, a spokesman for the Democratic Congress campaign committee, was misspelled as Lieter. (Corrected on July 12, 2020)

Write to Natalie Andrews at [email protected]

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