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As GOP tries to reach out to women, state-based group re-launches

Republicans’ quest for more women elected officials on their side continues today, with the Republican State Leadership Committee’s re-launch of its program aimed at electing more women down-the-ballot.

RSLC Chairman Ed Gillespie, a former national party chairman, announced new leadership as well. Tennessee Speaker Beth Harwell, Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman, Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi will serve as co-chairs of the so-called “Right Women, Right Now” initiative.

“We believe that one of the ways to grow our Republican Party is to create a strong pipeline of diverse leaders to put some new voices on the escalator to higher office,” Gillespie said on a call with reporters. “The first steps of that are these state offices.”

The Republican National Committee identified electing more women at the national level as a priority in its December “Growth & Opportunity” report. Gillespie and the co-chairs of the group emphasized what they said was their program’s success in states. Recruiters identified 185 new Republican women candidates and 84 statewide elected officials.

“Right Women” dedicated more than $5 million last cycle to identify, support, and train women for offices from lieutenant governor on down. In particular, the program helps with messaging and fundraising.

Wyman won her race in blue Washington by less than a percentage point, and said that she couldn’t have done it without the RSLC.

“They really supported me and my candidacy with resources that helped secure my win,” she said. “‘Right Women, Right Now’ really helped put my candidacy over the edge.”

Bondi, in her new role as co-chair, promised “unprecedented” resources for the program and said that specific metrics, in terms of cash and candidates, will be set and rolled out in the coming months.