Top Republican: GOP ‘old boy network’ doesn’t value women as much

Republicans continue to struggle with electing women to office because of the remnants of the party's "old boy network," says the man who leads the party's effort to win state and local elections.

Chris Jankowski, the president of the Republican State Leadership Committee, said Republican women who want to run often face obstacles in the male-dominated world of local politics. He said the party is making progress on that front, but that it remains an issue.

"It’s not hard to recruit women to run; they are running," Jankowski said Monday. "I think sometimes our party does not value them as much."

Jankowski cited the boys' club that often determines who gets support in local races.

"It’s safe to say that there are institutional barriers. We’ve met with candidates who felt like they weren’t part of the old boy network," he said. "It can be a bit of a male-dominated club at that level, and it’s important that they feel welcome and they’re given the resources."

The RSLC has been pushing in recent years to recruit and elect more minority and female candidates, particularly through its Future Majority Project -- the brainchild of former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie.

Jankowski noted that the party increased the number of Hispanic Republican state legislators in 2012 from 47 to 48 -- even as it was a tough year for the party nationally -- but said the party has plenty of work to do in creating a more diverse slate of officeholders.

The RSLC has become an increasingly significant force in GOP politics, including helping to guide the party's very successful redistricting cycle after the 2010 Census.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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