Among the recruits are a Republican woman in the Oklahoma state Senate and a black political novice from Houston with Iraq combat experience and three Ivy League degrees on his resume. They are part of the GOP drive to gain at least 18 seats in the 2020 elections to win the majority — historically a tall order for the party out of power in presidential election years.
Finding women and minority candidates is an imperative for an overwhelmingly white GOP openly embarrassed that just 13 of its 197 House members are women. By contrast, 89 of the 235 House Democrats are women and nearly 90 are black or Hispanic.
But Republicans want challengers with other qualities too, following a 2018 election that saw the GOP lose 31 districts that President Donald Trump had won just two years earlier, many in moderate suburbs.
Desirable attributes include an ability to woo moderate GOP voters who’ve turned against Trump, whose name will be atop the ballot. In some districts they want political outsiders without voting records to attack, in others it’s political veterans with a proven ability to win votes. Enticing personal stories and an aptitude for raising money also help.