|Many of those behind RedState Women have an immediate connection to Republicans whose names are still familiar in Texas politics. Namely: Former House Speaker Tom Craddick. The first video in a series promoted on RedState Women's new website and designed to showcase a variety of experiences of women in the GOP features Railroad Commissioner Christi Craddick. For a campaign designed to show diversity in the Republican Party, starting with a women whose father represents the Good Ol' Boy's Club of the Texas GOP may not have been the best idea.
The President of the Board at RedState Women is Lara Laneri Keel, a lobbyist whose clients include the private prison industry. Both Keel and her husband were "close associates" of Craddick, according to the Texas Observer. Another Craddick cronie is Cristen Wohlgemuth. Wohlgemuth was a lobbyist before becoming Chief of Staff for Craig Goldman, a Tea Party Republican out of Fort Worth.
Other members of the board have connections to powerful Republicans in the current GOP. Mia McCord is the current Chief of Staff for Kelly Hancock, a state senator from North Richland Hills who was the chairman of the Republican Policy Caucus in 2011.
Both Goldman and Hancock have a history in the legislature of voting in ways that are harmful to women, women's health, and women's access to equality in the workforce. Perhaps this isn't surprising, as this group of women is trying to sell the idea that voting against women's healthcare and equal pay does not a war on women make.
And this is where the challenge lies for the PAC, which will undoubtedly pour money into defeating the first statewide ballot to have two women at the top of the ticket. As the PAC attempts to "revolutionize" the way the Republican party messages to women in the state, they enter a public debate already in process. Proving that Wendy Davis, who garnered bipartisan support for her equal pay bill last session and whose stances on funding for public education and women's health have been central to her popularity with Republican women in her senate district, does not represent the best interests of the vast majority of women in Texas may be hard outside of right-wing conservative groups who Davis would never appeal to in the first place.
Can a group of women already mired the establishment of a sexist Republican Party, dead-set against funding women's health and public education, and permanently opposed to a legal process for women in regards to equal pay, deliver on their promise of new ideas for women in the Republican party? If Christman's wordy and befuddling response to the issues of equal pay is any indication, it doesn't seem likely. Until we hear more from RedState Women, women in this red state will have to wait and see.