So How Did the 'Mama Grizzlies' Do?

A mixed bag for GOP ladies at the polls

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Earlier this election season, CNN declared 2010 the "year of GOP women candidates." Sarah Palin's famed "mama grizzlies" were grabbing headlines in House, Senate and gubernatorial races from coast to coast. On Tuesday, some of them faltered and others flourished. Was the rising tide of GOP women exaggerated? Here's what political observers are saying:
  • It Was a Mixed Bag for Republican Women, writes Caroline May at The Daily Caller:
“Mama Grizzlies” cheered victories from the likes of New Hampshire Republican Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte, South Carolina gubernatorial nominee Nikki Haley, and Oklahoma gubernatorial candidate Mary Fallin. They were forced to stomach, however, the defeats of Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell, Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon, California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle.
  • GOP Female Governors Surged, writes Devin Dwyer at ABC News:
Republican women running for governor in three states made history [last night] by clinching victories over their Democratic opponents. South Carolina State Rep. Nikki Haley, Oklahoma U.S. Rep. Mary Fallin and New Mexico district attorney Susanna Martinez will all became the first women to occupy their state’s chief executive office. Haley and Martinez become the country’s first two women of color governors:  Martinez will be the country’s first Hispanic woman governor, while Haley will be the country’s first Indian-American woman governor.
  • Haley Is the Ultimate 'Mama Grizzly,' writes Keli Goff at The Huffington Post:
Perhaps no 2010 GOP candidate is more representative of the GOP's efforts to broaden "its tent" racially speaking, than South Carolina's Niki Haley. The telegenic Indian American who graced the cover of Newsweek as "the face of the New South" might as well have been labeled "the face of the new GOP" because for the next few years we are going to be seeing her face everywhere, as Republicans attempt to position her as the new Condi Rice; a woman of color who symbolizes the American Dream and who the GOP hopes to turn into a symbol of their party. As the first Asian American female Governor, and one who has already weathered a major scandal and survived, she is one of the few Mama Grizzlies whose roar Democrats should fear for years to come. But she's not the only one...
  • Sarah Palin and Geraldine Ferraro Talk Women in Politics  Fox News' Megyn Kelly hosts a discussion with the only two women to ever run on a presidential ticket in the U.S. At the 5:35 point in the video below, Ferraro and Palin talk about the new generation of Republican women and the challenges women face when running for office:

  • Susana Martinez's Win Was Big Too, adds Keli Goff:

In a year in which immigration has emerged as one of the most divisive issues in the nation, and GOP candidates find themselves on the defense for some of the party's more racially inflammatory language and imagery, Susana Martinez made history by becoming the first Latina Governor in America. Did I mention she's a Republican?

Like her GOP grizzly sister Haley, expect to see Martinez move front and center onto the national stage as one of the new faces of the GOP, and with New Mexico being a swing state, don't be surprised if, like another novice female Governor two years ago, she emerges on the shortlist of 2012 GOP Vice-presidential candidates.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.