Republican Women and Their Primaries

By Political Parity on October 27, 2014

Why should women run for political office, you ask?  And why does it matter? Simple.

We women make up over 50% of the U.S. population, yet our representation in government does not even come close to mirroring that.  Specifically, women constitute precisely 18.5% of the U.S. Congress and hold only 5 governorships across the United States—making us 85th in the world for women’s representation at the national level. Regardless of your gender, I hope you find this fact troubling.

Older white men hardly represent, or understand, what my life looks like today as a 30-something, single woman. This is not an angry statement, mind you, just a factual one.

Women today manage their lives and homes like never before. Whether you’re a married woman or a single woman, a Republican or a Democrat, we can all agree that we are on an upward societal trajectory. We are managing our financial lives, our work lives, and our family lives. We are breadwinners. We are mothers and workers. We are partnered and partner-less. Interestingly, a recent Pew Research poll found that women in their late 20s and late 30s who have never been married are earning more than their male counterparts. Times have changed…

As women continue to progress, it only makes sense that we start to gain greater representation, mirroring ourselves, our roles, and our place in society. That is why I want to see more Republican women running for political office and actually making it out of their primaries.

(Further, I would be remiss not to point out that my first boss was Dr. Condoleezza Rice. After watching a woman of such caliber and wisdom in action in politics, I can’t help but want more).


Political Parity is doing remarkable research to identify what exactly is holding women back from being elected to higher political office. Its recent report, Clearing the Primary Hurdles, found that Republican women face several distinct challenges in seek Congressional office—but the primary hurdle is, well, getting past the primary itself.

In the following blog posts—part of the series “Pushing Past the Primary: Republican Women’s Pursuit of Higher Office”—I’ll dive into the primary obstacles facing GOP women and lessons learned from research, observations, and my personal experience as a campaign strategist.

Sarah Lenti is the founder of her political consulting firm, SML Advisory Partners.  Sarah’s clients range widely from candidates and politicians to international non-profits, independent documentary films and super PACS.  Previously, she served under Dr. Condoleezza Rice at the National Security Council, worked on three Presidential election campaigns, and led the policy research for Governor Mitt Romney’s book, No Apology: The Case for American GreatnessConnect with Sarah on Twitter with the hashtags #PrimaryHurdles and #GOPWomen.