After years of setbacks, the 2020 election yielded historic gains for Republican women in Congress. From California to Maine, GOP women who weren’t supposed to win defied the pundits and the polls. 

Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, who was trailing in most polls, won by six points. Maine Sen. Susan Collins, considered a longshot by pundits, won by nine.

Michelle Fischbach in Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District unseated a 30-year Democratic incumbent. A Hispanic Republican in Florida, Maria Elvira Salazar, turned another House seat red.


All told, 28 GOP women won congressional seats, including nine of the 12 House seats flipped by Republicans. This tide of victories represents a change within the Republican Party.

For decades, women who cherished limited government, strong national security and traditional American values were hesitant to make the difficult decision to run for office. Even when they did, they too often came up short in a Republican Party dominated by men.  

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While both of us were privileged to serve in Congress and enjoyed strong support from our party, that was not the experience for many other GOP women. But something changed after 2018. The midterm cycle yielded so many wins for Democratic women that Republican women felt called to get off the sidelines. They didn’t wait to be asked; they ran with all they had. And Republican organizations and donors stepped up to help.  

Winning For Women, where we serve on the board of directors, works to create opportunities for women leaders who share core values of economic freedom and strong national security.  Winning for Women’s PAC, along with other women’s PACs like VIEWPAC, lent critical support to both of us in our elections. 

But following 2018, everyone knew more was needed. That’s why Winning For Women Action Fund was established as the first Republican SuperPAC dedicated solely to electing women.  

The organization has been a resounding success, investing nearly $3 million in GOP women this cycle. The SuperPAC got in early to back women in primaries, where they often faltered in the past. In the general election, it ran six-figure ad campaigns and get-out-the-vote efforts in multiple races, including for the underdog. Its goal was to help send 20 Republican women to the U.S. House, or "20 in 20." Instead, the record-shattering 28 wins stunned the political establishment on both sides. 

A win by Loeffler would be a continuation of the remarkable gains made by Republican women this year.

This election is proof that when Republicans invest, women win. And the investments aren’t all financial. They are also investments of time and talent. Notably, the groups to help elect Republican women were staffed and supported by accomplished Republican women with decades of experience in Republican politics, from operatives like Annie Dickerson of Winning For Women and Julie Conway of VIEWPAC, to women members of Congress such as Reps. Cathy McMorris Rogers, Elise Stefanik and Liz Cheney.  

Now we have an opportunity to advance these wins even further by helping Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler triumph in her Jan. 5 runoff against Raphael Warnock.  

Loeffler is an accomplished businesswoman and an unflappable advocate for conservative ideals. But we must not take her strength as a candidate for granted. We’re calling on all Republican – men and women alike – to lend their full support to Loeffler in the lead-up to Jan. 5. Winning For Women Action Fund announced it is pitching in with a six-figure digital campaign in support of Loeffler featuring former South Carolina governor and U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.   

A win by Loeffler would be a continuation of the remarkable gains made by Republican women this year. And by securing a Republican Senate majority, it would further empower all Republican members of Congress to advance the principles and priorities of the millions of voters who sent them to Washington.  


But no matter the outcome in Georgia, we stand confident that the Republican Party has turned a page in its history. Millions of women across the country this year found the representation they had been lacking in a new slate of Republican women candidates. The support infrastructure is now firmly in place to continue expanding these victories in 2022, 2024 and beyond.  

When future Republican women triumph, we hope they will look back on 2020 as the year that it all began – the Year of the Republican Woman.  


Barbara Comstock served two terms in the U.S. House representing Virginia's 10th Congressional District. Both she and Kelly Ayotte serve on the board of Winning For Women.

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