Romney Builds Congress Team With House’s Top Republican Woman

Photograph by Evan Vucci/AP Photo

Hortencia Wilcox of Allen, Texas, with a signed hat by Mitt Romney while waiting in line at a campaign stop at Southwest Office Systems on June 5, 2012 in Fort Worth.

Mitt Romney has turned to the top Republican woman in the U.S. House to bolster his congressional outreach efforts.

The presumptive Republican nominee’s campaign announced today he’s tapping Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the vice chair of House Republicans’ messaging arm, to be his House liaison.

The fourth-term congresswoman is the latest addition to a congressional team Romney has been building out in recent weeks. It started small last year with Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri acting as a point man, and has expanded with the addition of a full-time director of legislative affairs, J. T. Jezierski.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio has dispatched his political staff to help coordinate with Romney, while Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who tasked Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin with staying in touch with the nominee’s campaign, met with Romney last week.

McMorris Rodgers will be a rare female face in the bunch, and may help Romney improve his standing with women voters, who polls have shown are cool to him.

“She understands the impact of the economic challenges Americans face and the need to put our country on a better track,” Romney said of McMorris Rodgers. In a statement today, Romney said she “will be a helpful partner in our efforts to ensure our focus remains on the critical issue of economic security for all Americans.”

She’s also got credibility with social conservatives, earning the 2010 endorsement of Sarah Palin as one of the “Mama Grizzlies” Palin said worked twice as hard as their peers while upholding Republican values. A mother of two — both born while she has served in the House — McMorris Rodgers helped launch the Down syndrome caucus after her son Cole was born with the disorder in 2007.

“Governor Romney has demonstrated the leadership and vision that we have been fighting for in Congress to stop runaway government spending and create an environment for job creation,” she said in a statement today.

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