Highlights from the 42nd Biennial NFRW Convention
REPUBLICAN WOMEN LEADERS FROM 42 STATES
Nearly 1,200 registrants – including 692 delegates -- from 42 states attended the NFRW’s 42nd Biennial Convention in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on Sept. 28-Oct. 1. NFRW President Eileen Sobjack of Washington led the event.
>> "Tales of a Convention Badge," first-time delegate Nancy Almasi’s convention highlights and insights
PRESIDENTIAL STRAW POLL
Each convention registrant was invited to vote in the NFRW Presidential Straw Poll, which featured 15 Republican presidential candidates and potential candidates. Donald Trump landed a solid victory, with 59% of the 622 respondents selecting the former president as their first choice in the 2024 Republican presidential primary. Ron DeSantis won 26% of the vote, and Nikki Haley 8%. No other candidate received more than 2% of the vote.
The straw poll was conducted Sept. 28-Sept. 30 by WPA Intelligence and principal Amanda Iovino, who noted these additional take-aways:
- Despite feeling more economic pressure than they were a year ago, NFRW delegates are energized to work and volunteer in 2024. More than sixty percent plan to volunteer more than they did in 2020, and those numbers are even higher with younger and minority delegates.
- The delegates are hyper-focused on finding a presidential nominee who shares their conservative values. They want someone who will fight for them, particularly on issues like securing the southern border.
- Appealing to swing voters, experience in foreign policy, and experience as a business owner are the secondary qualities most of the delegates are looking for in a nominee.
>> Full Straw Poll results
Including Tulsi Gabbard, former congresswoman and 2020 presidential candidate, and Riley Gaines, 12-time all-American swimmer and advocate for protecting athletic opportunities for women and girls. Several Republican presidential candidates also addressed the convention, including Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, and Vivek Ramaswamy by video, and Asa Hutchinson, whose wife, Susan Hutchinson, spoke on his behalf.
OKLAHOMA ELECTED OFFICIALS AND OTHER NOTABLE GUESTS
Oklahoma elected officials – including Gov. Kevin Stitt, Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell and State Auditor Cindy Byrd -- turned out to welcome attendees to Oklahoma City at the Friday evening welcome reception, while U.S. Senator James Lankford headlined the Saturday luncheon virtually from Washington D.C. Other convention speakers included Gordon G. Chang, author and leading expert on China, and Republican National Committee Co-Chair Drew McKissick.
>> Full lineup of speakers and events
ELECTION OF NFRW OFFICERS
Convention delegates made pivotal decisions as they selected these Republican women who will lead the Federation in 2024-2025:
- PRESIDENT: Julie Harris, Arkansas
- 1ST VICE PRESIDENT: Martha Jenkins, North Carolina
- 2ND VICE PRESIDENT: Karen Newton, Texas
- 3RD VICE PRESIDENT: Michelle Buckwalter-Schurman, Illinois
- 4TH VICE PRESIDENT: Keri Abernathy, Mississippi
- SECRETARY: Heidi Parker Martin, Louisiana
- TREASURER: Cindy Casaus, Arizona
Following the convention, the Board of Directors elected the following as Members-at-Large of the NFRW Executive Committee: Britney Garner of Alabama, Lorie Legere of Oklahoma, and Jennie Frederick of Wisconsin.
>> News announcement
Delegates adopted resolutions supporting the Parents Bill of Rights and the Keep Nine Amendment, condemning the Biden administration's border policies, calling for the investigation of the abuse of federal government powers, protecting athletic opportunities for women and girls, and affirming the Federation's natural-born female membership eligibility requirement. In addition, delegates approved four courtesy resolutions.
>> Adopted resolutions
TRAINING FOR VICTORY
Attendees prepared for grassroots victories in the upcoming elections by participating in cutting-edge training seminars on leadership development, communications, fundraising, grassroots development, advocacy and youth outreach. The seminars were conducted by Republicans who are recognized nationally in their fields.
AWARDS OF DISTINCTION
The NFRW presented awards recognizing accomplishments at the state and club levels in the areas of membership and program development, campaign activities, community service, and public relations, including more than 500 Club Achievement Awards, 32 Betty Heitman Awards for State Excellence, and dozens of other awards. In addition, the NFRW recognized the outstanding leadership of Kit Whitehill, president of the Texas Federation of Republican Women, with the prestigious Ronald Reagan Leadership Award.
>> Reagan Award announcement
>> Public Relations Award article
NEARLY HALF A BILLION DOLLARS IN CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER WORK
Federation members reported more than 14.5 million volunteer hours and more than 5.7 million volunteer phone call for the 2022-2023 NFRW Political & Campaign Awards program. This outstanding achievement is valued at nearly $436 million in volunteer dollars.
NETWORKING AND FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITIES
Delegates and other attendees enjoyed plenty of opportunities to network and fellowship with women from across the nation at events such as the Regents Reception at the Myriad Gardens on Thursday, Welcome Reception on Friday evening, Prayer Breakfast on Sunday morning, and other receptions and events hosted by states and candidates.
FOCUS ON THE FUTURE
The youth outreach seminar on Saturday afternoon aimed to instruct attendees on the "best way to engage younger women to build your bench, the messages that appeal to them, and why young voices are needed in government today." In addition, the NFRW Youth Outreach Committee and the Oklahoma Young Republicans co-sponsored a reception for young convention attendees to connect with one another.
At the Sunday morning Prayer Breakfast, the NFRW Faith Coalition led attendees in fellowship, worship, and prayer, and presented an In Memoriam tribute to Federation leaders and members who have passed away in 2022-2023.
>> In Memory of Our NFRW Sisters
Serving as the host state of the national convention, the Oklahoma Federation of Republican Women helped raise more than $100,000 to off-set the cost of the convention.
>> Convention Sponsors
The NFRW commemorated its 85th Anniversary (1938-2023) at the convention with a celebration of the incredible progress we have achieved as the largest grassroots Republican women's organization in the nation, and with a renewed commitment to our enduring mission of engaging and empowering women from all backgrounds in the political process.
>> Historical Timeline: The NFRW's First 70 Years
Convention attendees had the opportunity to explore the Modern Frontier with Wild West and Pioneer Woman tours, as well as tours of the Oklahoma City National Memorial.
Next up, the Florida Federation of Republican Women will welcome the NFRW 43rd Biennial Convention to Orlando, Florida. The event will be held at Rosen Shingle Creek on September 25-28, 2025.
CAPTION: The Washington State Delegation, including NFRW President Eileen Sobjack (seated in the "O"), gathers following the Friday Welcome Reception on September 29, 2023, at the NFRW 42nd Biennial Convention in Oklahoma City.