This PAC encourages conservative women to run for office in Utah

Jun 15, 2023, 5:00 PM | Updated: Jun 27, 2023, 3:27 pm

More than half, 56% of all active registered Republicans in Utah are women -- yet only three of the...

FILE: Salt Lake City attorney Erin Rider is photographed in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

(Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — More than half, 56% of all active registered Republicans in Utah are women — yet only three of the 12 Republicans who have filed to fill Rep. Chris Stewart’s Congressional seat are conservative women. This gender disparity is not new to Utah’s political field, and it is not new to Erin Rider.

Related reading: How do women serving in Utah politics compare to national averages?

Rider, with the Utah Women Lead PAC, told  KSL at Night that as a Republican woman running for Utah’s 2nd Congressional District last year, she recognized a need for resources. Specifically, resources for conservative women in Utah.

 “That may sound strange,” Rider admitted. “Considering that, you know, the Republican Party is the dominant party here in Utah.”

However, she went on to explain there are not many resources available “especially on the fundraising level, and just some of the basic training needs … to effectively run a campaign.”

Why focus on conservative women?

There are a lot of conservative women that run for office, Rider said, it’s just a matter of getting them on the ballot and winning the race. A striking moment for her was how few women attended the political convention in 2022.

“It’s the only time in my life where I’ve ever seen no line for the women’s restroom and a massive line for the men’s restroom,” she said. 

A convention is one of the primary ways candidates get their names on the ballot. Rider said it’s not as common for women to know these things. There are cultural dynamics at play, she said, that hinder women from jumping into the race. 

“The only way you deal with those is by addressing it head-on and giving those women the tools and the resources to go out and be successful,” she said.

Creating tools to aid women who want to run for office

The Utah Women Lead PAC is an opportunity for women to know where to start. Rider wants anyone thinking about running for office to reach out directly to her. 

“We can talk about different ways to help depending on what’s happening with that particular campaign,” she said. 

The PAC also offers a chance to find funding for those running in municipal races. Rider wants to continue her stance on collaboration with other organizations also interested in aiding those who run for office. 

“Combine resources and work together to provide more structure,” she continued. “So we’re not kind of operating in silos.”

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This PAC encourages conservative women to run for office in Utah