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ECPR Virtual Methods School Round-up

The Elephant in the Room: Conservative Women’s Groups and Republican Women Candidates in U.S. Elections

Elections
 
Gender
 
Political Parties
 
Presenter
Rosalyn Cooperman
University of Mary Washington
Authors
Rosalyn Cooperman
University of Mary Washington

Abstract
In U.S. politics, women are significantly underrepresented as candidates to and members of Congress and are especially underrepresented as Republicans. There exists a robust literature on women’s candidate emergence (Burrell 1994; Lawless and Fox, 2005, 2010; Sanbonmatsu 2006; Lawless and Pearson 2008) and also the role of political parties and women’s groups in recruiting and supporting women candidates (Freeman 1987; Niven 1998; Burrell 2006, 2008; Sanbonmatsu 2002; Pimlott 2010). However, significantly less attention is paid to efforts by conservative women’s groups to recruit, fund, and support Republican women candidates. Established in the 1990s to serve as a counterweight to EMILY’s List (a PAC with women donors who recruited and funded pro-choice Democratic women congressional candidates), groups like Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) recruited and funded pro-life women congressional candidates, the majority of whom were Republican women. More recently, two additional PACs have emerged to recruit and fund conservative women; Maggie’s List and ShePAC. Unlike SBA List, which is organized around the issue of candidates’ opposition to abortion, Maggie’s List and ShePAC both focus on fiscal conservatism. This project considers the campaign and fundraising activity of these three conservative women’s groups, SBA List, Maggie’s List, and ShePAC, on behalf of conservative women candidates from 2008 to 2012.
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