2020 Challengers: House GOP Wants Women and Minorities to Increase Diversity
Republicans are facing a diversity issue they are trying to resolve. Top Republicans are now tasked with going district by district, searching for the right candidates who will aid them in retaking the House. Candidate profiles they’re looking for are women and newcomers to the US political scene. This comes as a response to Democrats’ taking control of the House six months ago. They’ve achieved that with the most diverse majority in the history of US politics.
New recruits consist of one of the rare Republican women in Oklahoma state Senate. Another recruit is a political novice from Houston. He is a man of color who comes with combat experience in Iraq and has three Ivy League degrees to his name. The ultimate aim of this GOP diversity recruiting is to gain at least 18 new seats in the House during the 2020 elections. They need those seats to win the majority. Historically speaking, for a party that’s not in power, this has always been a tough task.
Another obstacle Republicans face is finding candidates which will help the Grand Old Party with diversity. Women and minority candidates are the top priority for a party whose majority is white. The GOP is open about its dissatisfaction with the fact that only 13 of its 197 House members are female. In comparison, out of 235 House Democrats, 89 of them are women, while nearly 90 are either Hispanic or black.
However, being black and female are not only qualities Republicans look for in their new challengers. In the 2018 election, the Republican Party lost 31 districts which President Trump won in 2016. Many of those districts are moderate suburbs.
Some of the attributes they are looking for include the ability to get GOP voters who are personally against Trump to vote for the Party. Donald Trump’s name will lead the ballot. Depending on the district in question, they will have a different approach regarding experience. Some require newcomers who don’t have an unwanted track record, while in others, they’ll seek for veterans with proven ability to attract voters. Furthermore, personal stories with depth and an ability to raise money are always a bonus.
House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, R-California, states that they wish to build a party that represents the entire nation. But on top of that, they need to be able to be competitive in every district.
Expectedly, Democrats have laughed off Republicans’ efforts, claiming that people are more worried about actual issues like wages and health care, rather than the attributes individual candidates possess. Donald McEachin, D-Virginia, claims that it’s of no importance how interesting a candidate’s background is. He sees GOP as a party in the wilderness and claims they are only deluding themselves.
GOP leadership is boosting challengers such as Young Kim, who wishes for a rematch with the freshman Democrat. Last year, the Democrat narrowly defeated her in Orange County, California, despite having a significantly larger budget. Additionally, Karen Handel joins the candidate list. Handel entered the House in 2017 but lost the re-election by 3,000 votes. Finally, Tom Kean Jr. plans to get a House seat in western New Jersey. His hopes are that New Jerseyans will prioritize the popularity of his father, former Governor Tom Kean, over their dislike of Trump.
Competing with Democrats
Kevin McCarthy shared that he had met with over 30 contenders, with every six in 10 of them being women and nearly half being minorities. Susan Brooks, R-Indiana, recruitment chief for the National Republican Congressional Committee, says over 130 women contacted the committee about running.
Still, Republicans’ efforts fall short in catching up with the Democrats, who traditionally attract more female candidates. Namely, 38 of 172 Republican House challengers are women (around 1 in 5), while Democrats have 84 women out of 222 challengers (2 in 5).