Dem 51
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GOP 49
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Were the House Republican Women Too Smart to Run for Speaker?

While the Republicans have been tearing themselves to pieces trying to elect a speaker, one thing is incredibly obvious: None of the speaker candidates were women. It isn't that there aren't any Republican women in the House. There are actually 33 of them (vs. 92 Democratic women). One of them is 39-year-old Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the #4 party leader, after the speaker, majority leader, and majority whip. What is noteworthy is her complete silence during the speaker battle. There are multiple theories about her lack of interest in running for speaker, including:

Whatever the reason, Stefanik is in a safe seat and can bide her time as conference chair until the moment is right for her to make her move. But what about the other 32 Republican women in the House? Reps. Lisa McClain (R-MI) and Stephanie Bice (R-OK) are also in leadership roles. Three other women are committee chairs. Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) chairs the powerful Appropriations Committee, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) chairs the Education Committee, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) is chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Why not any of them? It is not like a woman couldn't be elected speaker. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) broke through that glass ceiling years ago and proved to be one of the most adept and powerful speakers in the country's history.

Some Republican women are leery of throwing their female colleagues to the wolves. Julie Conway, who runs VIEW PAC, a group that works on electing conservative women to Congress, said: "All of these women are too smart to want the job." Cathy Rodgers said: "We're wiser." Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) said: "Republican women are too smart to get involved in the shenanigans that have been taking place the last few weeks." Rep. Lori Chavez-DeRemer (R-OR) said: "It's a missed opportunity, but why would we subject ourselves to this?" Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY) said: "Men have egos, women have brains." It could be true. On the other hand, Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) said: "We need to have, maybe, a woman to get us out of this mess. The men screw up too much."

Whatever the dynamic is, there are surely voters who will notice that one party nominated the first woman major-party candidate for president, and seated the first woman speaker and first woman VP, while the other party did none of these things, and hasn't come particularly close. When that second party is also the anti-choice party, well, that could have an effect on voting patterns in, say, the suburbs. (V)

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