As Democratic Women Surge, Ranks of Republican Women May Shrink

As Democratic Women Surge, Ranks of Republican Women May Shrink


Like their Democratic counterparts, many in this year’s crop of Republican women are first-time candidates. But while many Democrats are running because of anger at the president and what they see as his awful treatment of women, many of the Republican women are embracing him.

“This is a man who loves women, who has entrusted women in senior leadership positions,” said Lena Epstein, a businesswoman who was co-chairwoman of the Trump campaign in Michigan and is now running for a Republican-leaning open seat in the eastern part of the state. “The Republican Party at this point is starved for more female leadership.”

Some were drawn into politics by Mr. Trump.

In California, Kimberlin Brown Pelzer, a soap opera actress-turned-avocado farmer, supported Mr. Trump during the 2016 Republican primaries — and was rewarded with a speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. She said that led to other speaking engagements, which in turn led her to declare her candidacy; she is running on a pro-business platform to unseat Representative Raul Ruiz, a third-term Democrat.

In South Dakota, Shantel Krebs, the secretary of state, is eager to help Mr. Trump advance his agenda. “His issues inspired me, and how he’s approaching them is inspiring me,” said Ms. Krebs, who is running for the House seat being vacated by Ms. Noem.

Strategists in both parties have long known that women are more reluctant to run for office than men, in part because women are more likely to feel they lack qualifications. But the president’s lack of political experience has emboldened some Republican women, said Julie Conway, the executive director of View Pac, a political action committee that works to elect female Republicans.

“When the president was successful, you no longer had in your head, ‘Hey, I need to first run for P.T.A. or school board,’” she said.

Republicans say they are upbeat about the prospects of at least half a dozen, if not more, new female faces.



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