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Election

Record Number GOP Women Voted to Congress, With Scant Party Help

A strong showing by first-time candidates should make the GOP reconsider its policy of not making gender a factor in races.

Representative Elise Stefanik takes the stage at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, N.Y., after winning reelection on Nov. 3.

Representative Elise Stefanik takes the stage at the Queensbury Hotel in Glens Falls, N.Y., after winning reelection on Nov. 3.

Photographer: Cindy Schultz/The New York Times/Redux
Corrected

At least 31 Republican women will make their way to Congress come January, surpassing a record set in 2006. The mini-swell will add a sliver of gender diversity to a party overwhelmingly run by White men. (By contrast, the 117th Congress will have at least 96 Democratic women.) “There is no doubt about it. Last night was truly the night of Republican women,” tweeted New York Representative Elise Stefanik, who runs a PAC to get more Republican women elected.

Going into the election, it was all but certain the GOP’s female delegate count would grow. That feat alone wouldn’t have been too impressive—the party lost female representation in 2018, leaving 13 women in the House and 7 in the Senate. Still, its candidates did better than expected. The big surprises came from candidates prevailing in swing districts expected to go to Democrats. Maria Salazar of Florida and Nicole Malliotakis of New York both ousted incumbents. Meanwhile, Iowa will send a majority female delegation to Congress led by Senator Joni Ernst, who fended off a well-funded challenger.