RNC Reaches Out To Women, Trumpeting Leads In VA And NJ

The Republican Party has a massive disadvantage among women: they're 10 percent more likely to identify as Democrats than men are, and they make up more of the country. To address this problem, the Republican National Committee is reaching out to women with a series of conference calls designed to get them more involved; the first one was held last night, and RNC Political Director Gentry Collins had a lot of good things to talk about--namely, two gubernatorial races that Republicans are currently leading.

In the only two major campaigns going on in 2009, polls show Republican Bob McDonnell leading Democrat Creigh Deeds 52-40 in Virginia and GOP challenger Chris Christie leading Gov. Jon Corzine 45-38 in New Jersey.

"Our fortunes, without being overly optimistic, look very good in those states," Collins told the RNC's female listeners, painting a rosy picture of GOP competitiveness for the rest of the year and beyond.

"We here at the RNC have been very pleased with the quality of the people and the strategic initiatives and the tactical implementation of those intitavies of both of those campaigns, and I can tell you, having been around for a number of years now, [that] has not always been the case," Collins said.

An April Gallup breakdown showed Republicans with a huge party-ID disadvantage among women, 41 percent of whom identify as Democrats nationwide, and 27 of whom identify as Republicans. Men, a larger chunk of whom identify as independents, break 30-28 for Democrats.

So it was in that context that Collins reported the good news: Republicans are sitting pretty in the two races that political commentators will look to as a forecast for 2010, both of which are in states full of political donors. It was a point he made sure to make.

"When we do well in Virginia and New Jersey, contributions go up...the political press is much more favorable," he said. "We believe there will be a 2010 impact to being successful or, candidly, to not being siccessful in those races."

The call was part of the RNC Women's Program, which kicked off this year at a Washington summit in June. It's being run by Co-Chairwoman Jan Larimer, and the goal is essentially to get women mobilized and involved in the GOP. They'll hold a series of women's summits, one in Denver in November, another in January in Hawaii, and another in February in Ohio. Information is displayed and distributed through RNCWomen.com.

On the call, Larimer reminded everyone that women are the largest voting bloc in the nation, one that's underrepresented on Capitol Hill, asking listeners to do "anything that you can do to talk to your friends and neightbors, or step up and vote yourselves or be a candidate."

When Gentry took questions, a female state senator from New Jersey implored her fellow listeners: "We need a lot of women to do this, to step up to the plate...Gentry and the two candidates in Virginia and New Jersey need your help."

"This is not only an information call, but a call to ask you to help us win elections," she said.

If the GOP is to regain competitiveness in national races, it will need that help.