WATERLOO — Republican Kim Reem sees the growing number of women voting and engaged in politics and knows it’s only a matter of time before a woman serves in the White House.
But before she could finish her thought — in support of a Republican woman and not this year’s likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — Reem’s statement was met with calls like “Not now,” and “But not that one.”
That level of engagement is exactly what led the National Federation of Republican Women to launch a get-out-the-vote bus tour to get more women like them actively involved in electing a Republican as president this fall. That NFRW “Destination: White House” bus tour made a stop in Waterloo on Tuesday night at Country Estate Fence.
“I’m going to spend every minute that I can between now and Nov. 8 making sure that Hillary is not elected to the White House, so I ask you to get on board with that,” said Reem, the immediate past president of the Iowa Federation of Republican Women.
While the dozen women, and a few men, were mostly already actively involved, the Republican women know they have work to do to get right-leaning women to the polls in November.
Women already vote in higher numbers than men, but the NFRW estimates there are more than 20 million right-leaning women who are either unregistered or do not regularly vote.
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They also have to overcome the gender gap in support for the presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump. According to a Gallup poll from last month, seven in 10 women have an unfavorable view of Trump.
But NFRW president Carrie Almond isn’t worried. She pointed to a saying on the “Rosie ’16” bus — named for Almond’s grandmother Rosemary Ginn who was an ambassador in the Nixon and Ford administrations — that reads “There’s a place for you at our table.”
“I feel that women are going to bring everybody to the table, sit down, just like you do in your own home when you have a disagreement,” Almond said. “Mama brings everybody together and says, ‘OK, sit down. We’re going to have a nice meal, and when this is over, all hard feelings are gone,’ and so I really think that’s what we’re going to do.”
Almond continued, echoing the other Republican women, “I know that Hillary Clinton does not speak for Republican women, and so we know getting behind the presumptive nominee is the best thing to do, and it’s the best thing for our country, because otherwise, we will be stuck with liberal Supreme Court justices for the rest of our lives.”
Almond said the national federation is focused on the presidential level, but she stressed the organization and its state groups are looking at targeting races “from the courthouse to the White House.”
The bus tour, which began Sunday in Missouri, will continue into Wisconsin after Tuesday. Almond said she hopes the bus tour can make it across all 48 states before the Nov. 8 general election.