The History Of WISH

The WISH List was founded in 1992 by a forward-thinking group of Republicans determined to transform America’s political landscape.

WISH looks for the best and the brightest American women — intelligent candidates at the local, state and federal levels who confront today’s issues with a fresh perspective and a solid belief in core Republican principles:

Individual freedoms and responsibilities;
A sound economy;
Limited government;
Healthy communities;
An educated citizenry; and
A strong and secure nation.

Our first year, 1992, proved to be a banner year, and it has been followed with successes in each subsequent election cycle. Over the course of The WISH List’s existence, our network has helped elect dozens of oustanding Republican women leaders.

In the U.S. House during the 1990s, WISH helped elect three outstanding women, all of whom quickly rose to the top of the U.S. House GOP leadership ranks: the late Rep. Jennifer Dunn (WA-8), who served as Vice Chair of the Republican Conference and waged an historic race for the office of Majority Leader; Rep. Deborah Pryce (OH-15), former Republican Conference Chair and Deputy Majority Whip; and the late Rep. Tillie Fowler (FL-4), who served as Republican Conference Vice Chair.

In 1993, The WISH List helped Christine Todd Whitman win election as the first woman governor in New Jersey history. Four years later, in 1997, WISH again played a critical role in Governor Whitman’s re-election — a victory which made her the first Republican woman in the nation to be re-elected governor.

In 1994, WISH helped Olympia Snowe of Maine, then the longest-serving Republican woman in Congress, win her bid for the United States Senate. She was re-elected, also with WISH help, in 2000 and 2006! In 1996, WISH members helped add another Maine Republican woman to the Senate — Sen. Susan Collins, who won re-election to a second term by a wide margin in 2002!

In 1998, The WISH List’s staunch support helped enable Rep. Judy Biggert (IL-13) to win a hard-fought primary battle and go on to claim distinction as the only newly-elected GOP woman in Congress that year. WISH’s backing also helped fuel the successful re-elections of such influential former congresswomen as Reps. Nancy Johnson to Connecticut’s Sixth District, as well as Marge Roukema (NJ-5), Connie Morella (MD-8), and Sue Kelly (NY-19).

The first decade of the 21st Century has brought more success — including the victory of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito as the new Congresswoman for West Virginia’s 2nd District. WISH-endorsed Republican Linda Lingle won election and re-election as the first woman governor in Hawaii history and the first Republican governor in that state in 40 years. Ginny Brown-Waite defeated a well-funded five-term Democrat incumbent to win her bid for Florida’s 5th Congressional District seat. And in 2004, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski became the first woman ever elected to the U.S. Senate from Alaska , bringing to four the number of pro-choice Republican women now serving in the U.S. Senate.

All told, The WISH List has had a powerful influence on the recruitment, support and election of mainstream Republican women to public office all across the country since its inception.