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NRCC Names First Female Head of Recruitment

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik will help find 2018 candidates

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik will be the NRCC’s vice chairwoman for recruitment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
New York Rep. Elise Stefanik will be the NRCC’s vice chairwoman for recruitment. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Steve Stivers has named New York Rep. Elise Stefanik the committee’s vice chairwoman for recruitment for the 2018 election cycle. 

Stefanik is the first woman to lead recruitment efforts for the party, a significant appointment given that the GOP trails Democrats in the number of women in Congress. Democrats have 62 female members in the House, while Republicans have just 21.

With some Republican women in the House eyeing higher office, that partisan gender gap could grow. One widely cited reason for the gap is that Republicans haven’t had the same level of infrastructure to recruit and finance female candidate that Democrats have with EMILY’s List. 

“It’s critical that we start recruiting talented candidates early this cycle so that we can grow our majority,” Stefanik said in a statement.

In 2014, Stefanik became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, at age 30. Her re-election bid for New York’s 21st District seat was initially targeted by Democrats last cycle, but Stefanik won in November by 35 points.

“I am confident she will recruit qualified and competitive candidates to run for Congress in 2018,” Stivers said Thursday.

Stivers appointed another rising woman from the class of 2014 to his leadership team at the NRCC. California Rep. Mimi Walters will serve as deputy chairwoman focusing on current operations, along with Minnesota Rep. Tom Emmer, who will oversee future operations.   

Besides Stefanik, Stivers also appointed 14 vice-chairmen from a wide ideological spectrum of the party to oversee various operations at the campaign committee. 

Missouri Rep. Ann Wagner, who’s largely expected to run for Senate in 2018, will be in charge of fundraising for the committee. She chaired the finance department during the 2016 cycle. New York Rep. Lee Zeldin, who easily won re-election to his Long Island district last year, will serve as finance deputy. 

Ohio Rep. Bill Johnson will be in charge of regional affairs. Texas Rep. Will Hurd, who won a second term in one of 2016’s most competitive races, will be the vice-chairman for candidate development.

New York Rep. John Katko will be in charge of mentorship. The 24th District congressman started out the 2016 cycle as one the GOP’s most vulnerable incumbents. But he went on to win in November by 22 points in a district that Hillary Clinton carried.

Pennsylvania Rep. Ryan Costello will oversee the Patriot Program for vulnerable incumbents. And Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis will oversee a new program, the Primary Patriot Program, which will support dues-paying members facing serious primary threats. Stivers campaigned for the NRCC chairmanship on a platform that included additional primary help for incumbents. 

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, is heading the committee’s data efforts, while Florida freshman Rep. Matt Gaetz will oversee digital efforts. 

Colorado Rep. Ken Buck, another Freedom Caucus member, will serve as the vice-chairman for coalitions. Kansas Rep. Kevin Yoder, a Democratic target in 2016, will oversee member services. 

Newly elected Florida Rep. Francis Rooney will be the vice chairman for redistricting, something the Sunshine State is intimately familiar with after having had its congressional map redrawn during the last cycle. Texas Rep. K. Michael Conaway will be vice-chairman for audits, and Pennsylvania Rep. Keith Rothfus will be vice-chairman for transformation.