GOP success strategy: Recruit more Hispanics (like Marco Rubio) and women
Without saying a word, Sen. Marco Rubio will send a key message to Republicans in his response to President Obama's State of the Union address. The GOP must engage minority voters, especially Hispanics, as well as women. And it must actively recruit such candidates.
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Studies have shown that sometimes, you just need the right person to ask a qualified candidate to run.Skip to next paragraph
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A 2011 study by professors Jennifer Lawless and Richard Fox reveals that among several reasons why more women don't run for public office, not being asked is one of them. A gender gap exists in recruiting that favors men over women by 7 to 10 percentage points. Whether the suggestion to run comes from someone outside of politics or someone inside, more men than women are being encouraged to seek public office. Republican leaders need to do a better job of encouraging, supporting, and training new and different candidates for office.
Fortunately, the groundwork is underway and already producing results. In 2011, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) launched the Future Majority Project (FMP) – a long-term, sustained initiative that commits significant contributions of time and resources to support and elect women, African Americans, and Americans of Hispanic and Asian descent to state offices.
The results are encouraging. After investing more than $5 million in the Future Majority Project in the last election cycle, 15 new Republican candidates of Hispanic descent and 84 new Republican women were elected to state-level office in 36 states. That adds up to 99 Republican officeholders, newly elected in 2012, who are now communicating the Republican message. By putting these candidates on the first step of the escalator to higher office, we have a more diverse pool of potential governors, members of Congress, and, one day, president.
This is only the beginning of what must be a sustained process. The saying goes that compound interest is "the most powerful force in the universe," and the same could be said for effective officeholders. In 2010, none of these 99 leaders were in place, but now they are joining together as a caucus to recruit and support other candidates to "compound" the Republican ranks.
Last week, they formed the Future Majority Caucus, led by co-chairs Governors Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada. This caucus of current elected officials will support the goals of the Future Majority Project, and will expand the scope of recruitment and support offered by the Republican State Leadership Committee to reflect the full diversity of our nation.
This shifting dynamic must be executed in all areas of our party – messaging, grassroots, technical support, and electing the next generation of leaders.
Our states are setting the example of how to grow the economy, support job creators, and focus on ways to keep more money in the pockets of working families. But our future majority will materialize only if we successfully execute in these key policy areas and welcome everyone to take part.