POLITICO: ‘I wasn’t asking for permission’: GOP women put leaders on notice

“To say what Elise is doing is a mistake? We need to applaud her. She’s filling a void.” – Former Rep. Diane Black

By: Rachael Bade and Sarah Ferris, Politico

The already meager ranks of female House Republicans had just been further decimated in the midterms when Rep. Ann Wagner was readying a play to head the party’s campaign arm — in the hopes of leading a recovery.

Wagner was indisputably well-credentialed for the job: The Missouri Republican had just won in a competitive district. She had experience raising money as finance director of the National Republican Congressional Committee, as well as past success helping Republican women win campaigns. A band of supportive lawmakers stood ready to vote her into the position.

But there was one major problem: House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy didn’t want her leading the NRCC. The California Republican called Wagner to express his preference for a far less prominent male lawmaker, Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota, according to three sources familiar with the conversation. Wagner could have defied McCarthy — some lawmakers and aides thought she’d win if she would have — but she realized doing so would create tension and would be counterproductive as the party tried to pivot toward 2020.

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