Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Huge GOP Gender Gap Suddenly Stresses Boehner

Suddenly Republicans are worried about how their longstanding gender problem looks. Democrats have long put Republicans to shame in the woman department, but now that Sarah Palin has arrived, the GOP men are suddenly worried that someone will notice.

Suddenly it looks bad, even to the GOP men, to have such a tiny delegation of women and an all male leadership team. Suddenly it's imperative to promote some women from that pathetically small delegation of GOP women.

Politico reports that Speaker-in-Waiting John Boehner (R-Ohio) is trying to deal with the embarrassment:

Despite electoral gains in the lower ranks, women have had virtually no success penetrating the inner circle of the Republican congressional hierarchy. . .

But the gender numbers are still startling: There are 56 female Democrats in the current House, and there will be 51 in the new chamber. There are just 17 Republican women in the House, with at least seven joining the new majority — only about 10 percent of the Republican Conference. There will be one GOP House chairwoman in the new Congress, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and one woman in the leadership ranks — Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who will keep the No. 5 slot as vice chairwoman. In the Senate, the record isn't much better: Lisa Murkowski, the only woman in Senate Republican leadership, resigned from the hierarchy last month. (See John Boehner’s Boys: The New Power Club)

At least seven new women will join the party this year, with the political fates of Ann Marie Buerkle in New York's 25th District and Renee Ellmers in North Carolina's 2nd District hanging in the balance. Among the other winners are freshmen-elect Martha Roby of Alabama, Sandy Adams of Florida, Vicky Hartzler of Missouri and Diane Black of Tennessee.
"I am one of those that think we're always well-served when we have more women," said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

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