College Republicans poised to elect first female national chair

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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The College Republican National Committee could finally elect a woman to serve as its national chair for the first time in its history.

Alex Smith, who serves as national co-chair of the committee, plans to announce her candidacy for the top committee leadership spot on Tuesday, The Daily Caller has learned.

She will announce that she has already lined up widespread support from the voting college Republicans across the country, including commitments from at least 30 state chairmen. The election for the full-time two-year gig is slated to occur during the organization’s June convention.

In an interview with TheDC, Smith said she would be the first female formally elected to lead the organization. A female took over during another person’s term in the 1940s, she said, but was not elected.

“The organization is 120 years old and to date, the national board has never elected a female to serve as the national chairman,” Smith said.

She acknowledges that the independent 527 group with 250,000 members on 1,800 campuses could play an important role as Republicans work to woo minority and young voters in elections.

“We have to increase our lead among younger voters,” Smith said. “We have to get out and especially talk to female voters and minority voters if we want to stay alive as a party.”

Smith, 23, was elected to the CRNC leadership position in July 2011. She is a second-year law student and would defer her third year of school if elected, she said.

She plans to spend the next six or seven months campaigning for the chairmanship by traveling to speak with college Republicans across the country. “It gives us enough time to travel to different states, talk to different people,” she said.

During the 2013 convention, college Republicans will elect a national chair, along with an executive board of seven people — including a national co-chair, treasurer, secretary and four regional vice-chairs.

Alex Schriver, the national chairman known for raising the profile of the committee, is not running for a second term. It’s been customary for chairmen over the last 10 years to only serve one term.

“I’m very proud of what we’ve done in the last year,” Schriver said by phone Monday, adding he’s not sure yet what’s next for him. “I think it’s time for somebody else.”

“Alex Smith has been a wonderful co-chair,” Schriver said. “She will make an incredible chair. And I’m very excited for her candidacy.”

Smith praised Schriver’s leadership, and said she’ll campaign on continuing the work they’ve done, specifically citing partnerships with well-funded conservative groups like American Crossroads and the Republican State Leadership Committee.

“He talked about getting the CRNC a seat at the table in Washington, and that’s exactly what we’ve been able to do with our administration,” she said.

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