Kay Granger, Only GOP Woman From Texas in Congress, Keeps Low Profile But Has Plenty of Influence

WASHINGTON — When Kay Granger was elected the first woman mayor of Fort Worth in 1991, citizens meeting her for the first time often didn’t know what to call her.“Should I call you Madam Mayor?” they asked. Others wondered if just “mayor” would work, Granger recalled, letting out a laugh. “I would always say, 'You can just call me Kay.'"Granger made history again years later when she was elected the first Republican woman from Texas to serve in the U.S. House. More than two decades later, she’s still the lone GOP woman in the delegation.Granger admits it’s a problem for her party.“I would say it’s diversified, except when I ran for Congress, I was the first Republican woman. And I never thought 22 years later, I would be the only Republican woman from Texas in the House,” she said.Five Texas Democrats in the House are women.While Democrats revel in their growing diversity, Republicans have struggled to elect more women and appeal to women voters. In last year’s midterm elections, Democrats elected a record 89 women to the House, even as the ranks of GOP women slipped from 23 to 13. And two of those 13 — Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks and Alabama Rep. Martha Roby — have already announced retirement ahead of next year’s elections. Granger, 76, is seeking a 13th two-year term. She is a fixture in the Republican Party, quietly rising in leadership and gaining a reputation for toughness and effective negotiating skills. But she keeps a low profile and shies away from weighing in on national controversies. She won a scramble last year to become the top Republican on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, putting her in line for chairwoman if her party retakes the majority.But the GOP’s gender gap is one of many obstacles to that goal.Since the devastating midterms of 2018, GOP leaders have stressed the need to recruit and elect more women. California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, conceded after the elections that the party has “a lot of room to grow.” Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, the party’s No. 3 leader as chair of the House Republican Conference (Granger served as vice chair earlier in her tenure) said last month that Republicans must work harder to sway women voters.Even when national GOP leadership manages to recruit women to run, those candidates often struggle to win in their primary. Women also tend to raise less money and have smaller networks than male candidates.  Continue reading...

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