Women donors and super PACs helped drive the parade of victories by Democratic women in the November election.
But the money wave didn't extend to Republican women. The number of Republican women in Congress next year will drop, even as the ranks of Democratic women swell. The incoming freshman class of the 116th Congress will include at least 105 Democratic women and 19 Republican women, a striking discrepancy that reflects the enthusiasm of women donors and organizations for Democratic candidates.
In 2018, women contributed more than $159 million to Democratic women congressional candidates and just over $19 million to Republican women congressional candidates on the House and Senate levels, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. While donations from women to Democratic women have shot up this year, reflecting a trend the Women's Philanthropy Institute calls "rage giving," their donations to Republican women candidates remained flat.
Women were less than one-third of all Democratic congressional candidates and just 43 percent of Democratic congressional nominees. But they received over half of women's donations to Democratic candidates in November.
This major imbalance is in part because individual women donors gave more to Democratic campaigns. But it's also a result of the powerful Democratic women's PACs that consistently outspend conservative women's organizations.
"There's a big enthusiasm gap between Democrats and Republicans, and it's a concern for GOP women. We want a representative government, and parity across the ideological spectrum, but looking at the numbers, it's deeply lopsided in favor of Democrats," Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, told CNBC Make It.
This will likely remain a serious obstacle for Republican women candidates in forthcoming elections.
Emily's List, the fundraising juggernaut that has helped elect hundreds of pro-choice Democratic women, told CNBC Make It that it raised over $110 million this election cycle. That's significantly more than the combined total of conservative women's PACs like Susan B. Anthony List, RightNow Women and Winning for Women, which together spent just over $1.2 million for Republican women candidates.