Recruiting and Electing Republican Women
The National Federation of Republican Women supports all Republican candidates and elected officials, but we are particularly interested in recruiting and electing Republican women to office.
Between 1916 — when Republican Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives — and 1938 — the year of the Federation’s founding — only six Republican women were elected to Congressional seats that were not first held by their deceased husband. Building on the GOP’s legacy as the Party that pioneered and championed women’s suffrage, the Federation immediately identified the election of Republican women to office as one of its objectives.
Using its role as the “education arm” of the Republican Party as a springboard, the Federation began establishing seminars, schools and workshops that taught Federation members how to recruit, train and elect qualified Republican women candidates. Examples of this commitment include NFRW President Patricia Hutar’s (1976-77) mobilization of candidate recruitment committees nationwide to seek outstanding Republicans to run for public office, with a special emphasis on recruiting women. And, NFRW President Betty Rendel (1981-85) traveled tirelessly to every state during her administration to encourage and inspire women of all ages to become involved in the governing of our nation.
In addition to classroom-style instruction, the Federation has produced recruitment and training manuals, guides, kits and booklets on a regular basis. In the 1950s, the Federation published a bold and persuasive manual — “Consider Yourself” — that encouraged women to think of themselves, not just men, as potential candidates. Republicans used the manual for several decades. Throughout its history, the Federation also has offered leadership training programs that have played an indirect — but significant — part in preparing women for roles in government.
Due to the Federation’s persistent efforts, many members have realized they are superb candidates and have run for office themselves. Judy Weis, who served as NFRW president from 1941 to 1942, took her own advice to heart when she ran for election to the U.S. House of Representatives from New York in the late 1950s — and won.
Elizabeth Farrington became the Hawaiian delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1954 after serving as NFRW president from 1949-52. Countless other Republican women also have been influenced by the Federation’s programs and materials and have made the decision to serve their country by seeking elective office.
Today, Republican women holding elective office is no longer a rarity, and many of those who have launched winning campaigns give some of the credit to the Federation. Former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), one of hundreds of Federation members who have served in national, state and local elective office, says: “No organization has been more essential than the NFRW in building and maintaining our majorities in legislatures and statehouses all around the country. I am so proud to have been part of this dynamic, visionary group for so many years. It represents the bright future of the Republican Party.”