In an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, noted Florida political authority Susan MacManus spoke of the “embarrassing problem” the Republican Party of Florida is facing with women. In particular, Dr. MacManus says that Republican women’s groups throughout Florida are growing increasingly concerned with the party’s commitment to recruiting and promoting female candidates. Not too many years ago, the Florida GOP has named that [building their female bench] as one of their main focuses, and they were quite successful. Republican women were well represented in the State Senate and there were a few in the Florida House as well. In addition, the Republican Party had the state’s first female Lt. Governor. There were even several female US Representatives elected from Florida.
The mission; however, seems to have been abandoned as female Republicans see their numbers decreasing in the Legislature and no female candidates are currently in the running for the Republican nomination for Senate, Governor, Attorney General or Chief Financial Officer.
Nowhere is the Republican party’s female problem more apparent; however, than Jacksonville. Several years ago, women held a majority of the 19 seats on the Council. Of those nine female members, six were Republican. Today, neither of the two women on the Jacksonville City Council are Republican. While the party does have two Florida House representatives from North Florida that are women, the City Council is often considered the bench for “growing” future candidates. The lack of female representation on the Council could represent problems for the party down the road, particularly as the voting population continues to trend female.