The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

We asked members of the Republican Security Council to nominate women they admire, and to tell us why. We were thrilled by the strong reader’s response which included over 250,000 page hits. We said the nominees should be intelligent and successful women who are role models for the next generation.
RSC members were asked to nominate women who are positive examples and have a strong commitment to the principles and goals of the Republican Party. An ideal candidate would have an impressive education, a promising career, a purpose in life, and goals they want to achieve. Many past nominees were active volunteers in political and nonprofit organizations. The nominees should be women who have a dream and the drive to achieve it. They should be women who best represent the GOP’s future.
Some choices were surprising and a few recommendations suggested by our administrators did not receive the necessary 100 votes to qualify.
Every year there are many votes for celebrities who are registered Republicans but not active in the GOP (i.e. Sarah Michele Gellar, Jessica Simpson, Hilary Duff, Shannon Doherty, etc.). Celebrities who received more that 100 nominations included singer Martina McBride and model Cindy Crawford. They were added to the Honorable Mention category.
The GOP gender gap is especially significant among young women, and we want to highlight people who are not established GOP leaders. Young Republican women are rarely noticed. Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Ann Coulter already have close to 100% name identification, and they do not need our help.
The women on this page are rising stars, and the next generation of GOP leaders. We hope more women will be in senior GOP leadership positions, but that is not true today in the House or Senate. In politics you often learn more by losing then winning. GOP consultant Noelle Nikpour worked for losing candidates Asa Hutchinson (AR), Dick De Vos (MI) and Rudy Giuliani (NY). She believes “The GOP needs a new image especially with young women and college students. The Democrats have done a great job in capturing these important groups. We need more young Republican role models.”
The group is limited to 45 nominees which means many outstanding women were not selected, and they will be considered next year. We asked our members to select the most admired women, and we told them this is not a beauty contest.
A dozen people nominated freshman State Representative Julia Hurley (R-TN), but she was not selected. We admire her for defeating a liberal incumbent and we know she is intelligent and hardworking. However, all the comments we received were about her modeling portfolio and previous work as a Hooters waitress.
Rep. Hurley, 30, is attractive, but our contest is about accomplishment and fostering GOP goals, not physical appearance. Hurley is a young woman with a bright future and we are sure she will be nominated in the future when the focus will be on her legislative accomplishments.
We assume it was part of an organized effort, but our guess is that we received 1,000 messages promoting radio host Laura Ingraham. Ingraham meets all of our criteria except one, she is over 45. If this group was not limited by age, the top 45 Most Admired Republican Women would probably include the women listed below.

First Ladies: Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush.
Governors: Jan Brewer, Susana Martinez, Sarah Palin, Linda Lingle and Jodi Rell.
Senators: Kay Bailey Hutchison and Elizabeth Dole.
Representatives: Michele Bachmann, Marsha Blackburn, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Mary Bono, Sue Myrick, Barbara Cubin, Lynn Jenkins, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Shelley Moore Capito, Kay Granger, Jo Ann Emerson, Jean Schmidt, Virginia Foxx, Judy Biggert, Ginny Brown-Waite, Candice Miller, Marilyn Musgrave, Thelma Drake, Heather Wilson, Deborah Pryce and Katherine Harris.
Former Cabinet members: Condoleezza Rice, Margaret Spellings, Susan Schwab, Elaine Chao, Mary Peters and Carla Hills.
Commentators: Peggy Noonan, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and Linda Chavez.
When President George W. Bush signed the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act on November 5, 2003, he was surrounded on the White House stage by a large group of lawmakers and party luminaries. What was missing? Not one woman was present. We have to change that picture. Few women continue to be present at many Republican leadership gatherings.
If the gender gap was eliminated, the GOP would definitely be the majority party. While a majority of men tend to vote Republican, women usually lean Democratic and with bigger numbers. They went for Obama by a huge margin in 2008. Over 70 million women voted, against 60.7 million men, and women gave 56 percent of their votes to Obama and just 43 percent to John McCain.
Men split almost evenly. Women are 51 percent of the population and 54 percent of voters. The gender gap between Republicans and Democrats, in presidential elections, has historically ranged from 4 to 11 percent; in Pennsylvania, a key swing state, it was 8 percent in 2008.
In June of 2012, the gender gap was 32% in New Hampshire where women supported Obama by a 24% margin, while men preferred Romney by 8%. In 2004, George W. Bush lost single women by 29%, but ended up winning married women by 15%.

Pam Bondi: 2011 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Pam Bondi

Pam Bondi of Tampa is Florida’s first female Attorney General. She previously served 18 years as a front-line prosecutor in the State Attorney’s Office.
Prior to her 2010 election, she was best known for winning the first-degree murder conviction of Melvin Givens for the stabbing death of local NBC-News Producer Danielle Cipriani.
Bondi regularly traveled to Tallahassee to oppose the parole of convicted murderers and rapists.
She is now the lead Attorney General in the 26-state constitutional challenge to the government health care takeover which is pending before the Supreme Court. The case of Florida et al v. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services argues that the individual mandate provision of Obamacare violates the Constitution.
Bondi says “There is no case, anywhere close to being on point that says the federal government can do this to us. If the federal government can force us to purchase a product, simply by being alive — simply by sitting here — there’s no limit to what they can do. So this is very, very important. And it’s so much bigger than healthcare.
“Should Obamacare not be struck down by the court, it would bankrupt Florida. Now that these actuaries are coming out, it’s costing trillions of dollars, trillions more than anticipated, which is outrageous. We all know we need healthcare reform in our country, but this is not the way to do it.”
Bondi never sought elective office before 2010. She defeated Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp in the GOP primary and received a major boost with an endorsement by Sarah Palin.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Michelle Litjens: 2011 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Michelle Litjens


Freshman State Rep. Michelle Litjens (WI) is the mother of three children and was motivated to seek office because deficit spending was a huge problem for the school system. 2011 was the most exciting year of her life.
Almost immediately the Democratic members of the State Senate went AWOL because of Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) collective bargaining reforms. The Senators said it would be a disaster for schools with “severe teacher cutbacks” and the end of extracurricular activities.
Protesters camped out in the capitol building for weeks and Wisconsin was the center of national attention. Litjens, 38, was a solid Walker ally and received death threats. She needed police protection to enter and exit the Capitol which was surrounded by demonstrators. Litjens admitted she was “shaking” because of all the people screaming at her.
Liberals tried to scare her into opposing Governor Walker. They had no impact and she voted for Walker’s Budget Repair Bill. On the floor of the legislature, her Oshkosh colleague, State Rep. Gordon Hintz (D), yelled at her: “You are f***king dead!” She ignored him, but many lawmakers heard the exchange and it received national publicity.
Litjens describes the night the Assembly passed the collective bargaining bill. “After that vote, I put on a sweatshirt and a baseball cap and ran out of the capitol. I was afraid for my personal safety. I needed a police officer to escort me to the bathroom often during the heat of the protests. You couldn’t walk anywhere without protesters just screaming at you,” she said.
The Walker reforms were finally enacted and business regulations were repealed. The critics were wrong and there were no teacher cutbacks. Instead of last year’s $1.8 billion deficit, the state now has a $300 million surplus.
If the Democratic “reform” plan had been passed there would have been a $1.4 billion deficit.
In the past, schools were required to purchase health insurance from the WEA Trust, a company created by the teachers union. When they lost their monopoly, the WEA Trust significantly lowered prices because for the first time they have to compete with other vendors.
Now they are matching the lowest bids and huge savings means it is not necessary to fire any teachers. The result of Walker’s regulatory reforms has been almost immediate. By the end of June, half of the net new jobs added in the United States have come from Wisconsin.
The manufacturing sector in the state is growing three times stronger than the national average.
Despite this spectacular record, six GOP State Senators have been targeted by labor unions and they now face recall elections.
Litjens realizes that many people are greedy, but the conduct of the labor unions has continued to amaze her. She believes their positions defy logic. For example, AFSCME is the largest union in the state and it just protested a Special Olympics ceremony at the capitol, and now they are discouraging employers from hiring the handicapped.
Litjens is remarkable because she is having an impact as a freshman. Similar to other states, Wisconsin depends on federal aid to run a host of programs ranging from Medicaid and food stamps to highway repairs and unemployment benefits.
She is the chief author AB-194, which is likely to pass the legislature. It is a bill requiring state agencies to have a contingency plan should they see a sharp decrease in federal funding. 30% of Wisconsin’s state budget is federal dollars.
She says her real job is at home and told Fox Business News “I have to learn to speak like a politician, but I so desperately don’t want to become one. How fortunate I am to be asked.”
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Jessica Echard: 2011 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45


Jessica Echard, 30, a native of Glenville, West Virginia, is the former Executive Director of Eagle Forum, one of the nation’s most prominent social conservative organizations.
She was with the group for five years, served as Phyllis Schlafly’s top aide, and was in the forefront of every judicial battle. Echard received the prestigious 2008 Ronald Reagan Award from the Conservative Political Action Conference, which includes a $10,000 cash stipend.
The award was made in recognition of her efforts to stop illegal immigration, and she was the sparkplug behind an ad hoc coalition of rightwing groups who worked on immigration issues. Echard said “Defeating the Senate amnesty bill was a tremendous victory for grassroots Americans and I was thrilled to be a part of it. The conservative movement is strongest when we stick to principles and stand up for the grassroots.
“That is what we did and we won.” She also received the Distinguished Service Award which was presented by then Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) for her efforts to confirm the Bush Administration’s judicial nominees.
She will receive her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health from Regent University in August 2012. She has an extensive background working with those suffering from substance abuse.
Her patients are “searching for relief from the pain of addictions, trauma, relationship issues, self doubt, and many other circumstances we face as part of being human.”
Echard is also a fitness guru and has taken many boxing classes.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Mercedes (Mercy) Schlapp: 2011 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45


Mercedes (Mercy) Schlapp, 39, served on the White House senior staff during the George W. Bush administration. She was the primary spokesman on all Spanish language and religious issues.
Her husband was Bush’s Political Director and they met in the White House. She is now the mother of four daughters, and is expecting her fifth in January! Schlapp was well known at the RNC where she served as host of their web show, and was one of the party’s major surrogate speakers.
When Bush left office she formed Cove Strategies which has assisted numerous GOP campaigns, and she is part of Speaker Boehner’s inner circle. Schlapp has a MA from George Washington University, and frequently debates liberal Bob Beckel on Hannity’s Great American Panel. He is no match for her firm grasp of economic and national security issues.
Schlapp has scored so many debating points that Beckel no longer mentions Obamacare. Dr. Lori Snyder described Schlapp as “always brilliant, on target and exceptional.”
Schlapp is also the only Republican on the political pundit panels hosted by CNN and Univision. Her main message is “With the Hispanic population in the U.S. reaching 50 million, the Republican Party has to understand their concerns. They are receptive to conservative appeals, and ignoring the second largest minority group is not an option.”
We assumed she spent many hours preparing for her TV appearances, but Schlapp says she often does not know the topic until arriving at the studio.
A considerable amount of her free time is spent on ballet rehearsals and piano recitals for her daughters.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Michelle Malkin: 2011 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Columnist and author Michelle Malkin, 41, is smart, successful, scrappy, charming, and a relentless worker. It has been three years since she moved away from DC, but fortunately she does come back to visit.
Her book, “Culture of Corruption” (Regnery), was #1 on The New York Times Bestsellers List. She is the star of the 2011 “Great American Conservative Women Calendar,” which is published by the Clare Boothe Luce Institute. She replaced Carrie Prejean who was the real 2009 Miss USA, and not too many 5′ 2″ 41 year old women can make that claim.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Jessica Simpson: 2011 Honorable Mention — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45


HONORABLE MENTION: We did not think of Jessica Simpson, 31, but she was nominated by our readers, and they always have good judgment. 
Simpson is pregnant and for the first time since 2001 she will not be spending Thanksgiving and Christmas on tour with the USO. No living celebrity can match her record number of USO appearances. She frequently performs with NFL cheerleaders at U.S. military installations around the world.
Simpson is a Republican and performed at both Bush Inaugurals. She has visited five aircraft carriers, and always eats with the troops, signs autographs and poses for thousands of photos. She is not paid, and says “I stay in the barracks and rough it like the soldiers. I want to make them smile.
I appreciate the sacrifice the troops and their families are making to keep us safe. I’m forever changed because of the USO, and I am glad they keep asking me to come back.
“I like to close my show with ‘God Bless America’ and to have the soldiers and sailors sing along. It is my favorite time to be on stage. It is similar to a prayer. Back home ‘God Bless America’ is something you grow up singing and don’t realize it’s a prayer until you’re in a war zone and see these soldiers asking God to bless America. It’s very powerful for me.”
Simpson has seven Billboard Top 40 hits, three gold and two multi-platinum studio albums. She portrayed Daisy Duke in the movie version of the television series “The Dukes of Hazzard”.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45 

Melanie Sojourner: 2011 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Melanie Sojourner

State Senator Melanie Sojourner, 43, of Natchez, Mississippi defeated incumbent Bob Dearing (D) by 414 votes (51% to 49%). He held the seat for two decades and previously spent 10 years in the House. When he was elected 30 years ago, Republicans were a distinct minority in the legislature.
Senator Dearing, 76, was Chairman of the powerful Oil and Gas Committee, and outspent Sojourner by a 5 to 1 margin. Even though the candidates were in agreement on both issues, Dearing had endorsements from the NRA and Mississippi Right to Life. He refused to discuss Barack Obama, but could not overcome the White House albatross.
Sojourner repeatedly said the incumbent had voted for “billions in higher taxes and fees,” and had done little to reduce the size of government. The pork barrel spending he bragged about in the past was used against him this year by the Republican.
She said “When I began this race many people told me it was impossible to oust an entrenched incumbent. I knew it was going to be a long road, but a lot of people helped me.”
In addition to taxes, a major issue was education spending. The incumbent wanted to increase spending but Sojouner noted that 62% of the budget was already devoted to education, and the focus should instead be on “accountability and results to match the funding. . . We need good paying jobs so our children will want to stay in Mississippi. We can recruit new businesses if we abolish many of these of burdensome regulations and keep taxes low. We have to be aggressive in turning things around. It’s going to take a lot of energy, passion and a common-sense approach.”
Sojourner is a graduate of Louisiana State University and the mother of two children. She has served as an official of both the Farm Bureau and the Cattlemen’s Association. Her family has run the same farm since 1814.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Kristen Soltis: 2011 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Kristen Soltis, 28, is Director of Policy Research for the GOP polling firm, The Winston Group, where she advises campaigns and corporate clients on strategy and message development. She is active in numerous House and Senate races, and the paintings in her office are of Margaret Thatcher and Jeb Bush (he appointed her to a gubernatorial commission).
She is a regular panelist on CNN International, and her numerous articles have been published in, National Review, The New York Times, The Washington Examiner and The Orlando Sentinel.
Soltis received her MA in Government from Johns Hopkins University in 2009, and did additional graduate work at Yale. She graduated summa cum laude from JHU, and received the award for best thesis. Her topic was on how the GOP could win back young voters, and it has been widely praised by the party’s senior echelon.
Many of her recommendations are now being implemented, and the thesis was written when Obama was winning 68% of the youth vote. She was still a student when The Atlantic magazine featured her work.
Soltis is a conservative who has a lot to say about every issue. She has posted over 7,500 messages on Twitter at KLSoltis.
In addition to working full time and going to school, Soltis had an exciting part time job from 2007 to 2009. She was lead singer with “The Frustrations” rock band. They received excellent reviews but broke up when several members entered law school. “Rolling Stone” described her as “a strong frontwoman belting it out in her signature red dress.” Her music videos are still popular at Young Republican events.
She enjoys survey research because “it makes you think strategically,” and she commented on the industry’s future: “I think polling is going to become less about asking people what they think and more about analyzing data that is already out there. Response rates are getting lower and lower as people screen calls from pollsters and move away from landlines.
“Meanwhile, people are more open than ever about their views, desires and beliefs. Individuals reveal preferences in places like Facebook and Twitter; large groups reveal information through web traffic and search data. I really think analytics are where polling is going to move in the future.”
Soltis grew up in Orlando and her summer jobs were at Disney World where she was the actress who drove the tram on the King Kong ride. She was a National Merit Scholar and a Massey Presidential Scholar at the University of Florida, where she was the president of her sorority and a member of the student senate.
She was inspired to learn Russian by Condoleezza Rice, and her major focus is on foreign policy and national security issues. She claims an addiction to Ruffles potato chips but she is still a size zero.
Soltis is now expanding her thesis into a book, and recently announced her engagement to co-worker Chris Anderson. He says “We get paid for providing common sense. Which is odd, since I don’t have any.” In addition to a family, her goal is to be the GOP’s major pollster. Watch out Scott Rasmussen!
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45


Christine Mastin: 2011 Winner — The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45

Christine Mastin, 38, is Treasurer of the Colorado Republican Party. At the University of California at Davis, and the University of Colorado Law School, she received awards for being an outstanding scholar.
Her community activities include assiting battered women, orphanages and leadership of SafeHouse Denver, where she recruits pro bono attorneys and matches them with shelter clients. This earned her a spot on the Denver Business Journal’s “40 under 40,” and she received the Community Impact Award.
She was also named a “Rising Star” by SuperLawyers magazine in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Her track record in court is excellent and she says “Some days, I am absolutely overjoyed to be a lawyer. Really.”
Her mother and grandmother emigrated from Chile, and she grew up speaking Spanish, which she incorporates into her legal practice. She opposes amnesty and is an advocate of E-Verify.
Democrats gave Colorado a $1 billion budget hole and last year the deficit was fixed with stimulus money. Mastin says “Filling the hole with a one-time source of money fixed nothing for the long term and simply kicked the problem down the road. We need to focus on finding ways for businesses to create more jobs.
“More people at work mean a bigger tax base. We need to get the government off the backs of small businesses and create some breathing room so they can start hiring again. Between new mandates at the federal and state level, businesses in Colorado have no idea what to anticipate in terms of cost.
“In an uncertain environment, businesses sit still – they hesitate to reinvest, expand or take the necessary business risks they need to in order to grow.”
Her husband is also an attorney and she is the mother of two children. During the past few months she has started finding some gray hairs but is not going to cover them up. She says “Every new batch of grays allows me to raise my hourly billable rate!” How does she stay so thin? By running four miles a day.
You can read more about the contest rules and background at: The 45 Most Admired Republican Women Under 45