RSLC Announces First Round of “16 in ’16: Races to Watch”

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) debuted the first round of its “16 in ’16: Races to Watch”. Comprised of the RSLC’s Future Majority Project (FMP) and Right Women, Right Now (RWRN) candidates running for state-level office around the country this year, the lists will recognize rising stars in the party who are ready to champion conservative governing and who represent the full diversity and depth of our electorate. The RSLC’s FMP and RWRN initiatives aim to identify, recruit and support new diverse and women candidates at the state level.

The RSLC highlighted outstanding FMP and RWRN candidates in a similar manner in 2014 and 2015, many of whom were instrumental in securing new majorities and flipping chambers around the country. Candidates highlighted in the RSLC’s “14 in ‘14” and “15 in ‘15” lists went on to win seats in 34 chambers in 30 states, including 4 statewide offices, helping to grow our ranks to a record 69 out of 99 legislative chamber majorities, 32 lieutenant governors, and 28 secretaries of state.

RSLC 16 in ’16: Races to Watch

More on each candidate including bio, headshot and campaign website can be found here.

  • Shelley Kais – Arizona Senate District 2
  • Dante Acosta – California Assembly District 38
  • Nancy Doty – Colorado Senate District 26
  • John Couriel – Florida House District 114
  • Suzanne Crouch – Indiana Lieutenant Governor
  • Rene Gadelha – Iowa Senate District 34
  • Joni Hogancamp – Kentucky House District 3
  • Sharna Wahlgren – Minnesota Senate District 53
  • Nora Espinoza – New Mexico Secretary of State
  • Greg Baca – New Mexico Senate District 29
  • Diego Espinoza – New Mexico Senate District 9
  • Christina Hall – New Mexico House District 24
  • Laura Morett – Oregon House of Representatives District 20
  • Randy Brock – Vermont Lieutenant Governor
  • Lynda Wilson – Washington Senate District 17
  • Patricia Rucker – West Virginia Senate District 16

RSLC Statements on the 16 in ’16: Races to Watch:

“As Chairman of the Future Majority Project and a former state legislator, it really has been amazing to witness firsthand how FMP has already started to shake things up. Since its inception in 2011, this initiative has grown immensely and made enormous strides towards creating a more representative democracy – one that truly reflects the beautiful and diverse makeup of our country. I look forward to growing on past victories this November, as our candidates continue to help the GOP reach new heights and create a better, stronger, more inclusive party.” – FMP Chairman and Former Oklahoma Speaker T.W. Shannon

“I am thrilled to see such a strong slate of accomplished and qualified women candidates vying to represent the GOP in state-level office this fall. Because of initiatives like RWRN, this number continues to grow yearly. In fact, this cycle, RWRN shattered its goal of recruiting and identifying over 500 potential women candidates. Many of those brilliant women are on this list today, and I am honored to stand with them.” – RWRN Co-Chair and Iowa Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds

“The RSLC’s RWRN plays a crucial role in giving women a bigger seat at the table, and the resources, training, and support needed to get there. I am proud to be a member of the party that has over 700 women serving in state-level offices nationwide, and I am proud to co-chair the organization that remains committed to growing that number. The women featured on the list today will serve their states with honor and integrity, and advance the conservative ideals that make our country strong.” – RWRN Co-Chair and Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan

“Today, Republican women serve as legislative leaders in 21 states. As the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the House in Tennessee, I am thrilled to see that number growing every year, but I look forward to the day when women serve in these roles in all 50 states. The RSLC’s RWRN initiative aims to accomplish just that. Already, RWRN is leading the charge in recruiting strong and impressive women candidates who will not just run and win, but rise to leadership positions and build the bench for years to come. This year’s list features some of the extraordinary women who represent the future of our party, and I can’t wait to see their success on Election Day.” – RWRN Co-Chair and Tennessee Speaker Beth Harwell

About FMP
The Republican State Leadership Committee’s (RSLC) Future Majority Project (FMP) seeks to identify, recruit, train and support candidates who better reflect the full diversity of our nation. Launched in 2011, FMP supports men and women from diverse communities as they run to grow the economy, support job creators and focus on ways to keep more money in the pockets of working families. The efforts are helping to build a strong bench of current and future Republican leaders. In the 2013-2014 cycle, FMP recruited 244 new candidates of all diverse backgrounds and successfully helped elect 43 to office in states nationwide, with an investment totaling more than $6 million – in partnership with Right Women, Right Now. In 2015-2016, FMP aims to spend at least $7 million – in partnership with Right Women, Right Now – to recruit 250 new diverse candidates and see 50 of those appointed or elected to state-level office. FMP plans to see 10 diverse elected officials enter leadership and expand the initiative’s “Diversity in Business” roundtable program. FMP is chaired by former Oklahoma Speaker of the House T.W. Shannon, with Governors Susana Martinez (R-NM) and Brian Sandoval (R-NV) serving as Honorary Co-Chairs.

About RWRN
The Republican State Leadership Committee’s (RSLC) Right Women, Right Now (RWRN) initiative serves to identify, recruit and support women candidates nationwide in order to help elect more Republican leaders who better embody the electorate of our country, where women are 53 percent of the voters. RWRN offers candidate trainings, mentorship matchings and digital organizing tools for our candidates’ campaigns for state-level office. Since its founding in 2012, RWRN has recruited hundreds of women candidates, elected 229 new women to office and continues working to grow the largest caucus of Republican elected women in the country. RWRN is co-chaired by Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan and Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds. In the 2015-2016 election cycle, RWRN aims to recruit 500 new women candidates to run for state-level office, see 150 of the candidates appointed or elected, and see 15 women elected officials enter state-level leadership – spending at least $7 million, in partnership with FMP. So far in the 2015-2016 cycle, RWRN has helped elect new women candidates in eight states.

About the RSLC
The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) is the largest caucus of Republican state leaders in the country and the only national organization whose mission is to elect Republicans to multiple down-ballot, state-level offices.  Since 2002, the RSLC has been working to elect candidates to the offices of lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state legislator, the judiciary and other down-ticket races.  The RSLC has more than 150,000 donors in all 50 states. During the 2013-2014 election cycle, the RSLC was active in all 50 states and picked up ten new state legislative chambers, leading to an all-time historic high of 69 chambers controlled by Republicans.  Following the 2015 elections, Republicans now hold 32 total Republican lieutenant governor seats, along with a Republican majority of secretaries of state, now at 28. The RSLC successfully expanded the Future Majority Project and Right Women, Right Now initiatives, spending more than $6 million in direct support of Republican candidates of diverse descent and women, leading to the election of 164 new candidates. Last cycle, the RSLC also launched the Judicial Fairness Initiative and the new top-level domain for the Republican Party, ‘.gop.’ To learn more about the RSLC, please visit www.rslc-2.rslc.gop or follow @RSLC on Twitter.