- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 10, 2021

House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik on Wednesday endorsed eight women running for Congress next year, the latest recruits in her effort to swell the ranks of conservative women in the House GOP.

Ms. Stefanik‘s Elevate PAC has been on a mission since 2019 to recruit and elect female candidates. She said that Republican women will be crucial to the party’s retaking the majority in the lower chamber next year.

“E-PAC’s endorsed candidates are determined to build on the historic success of last cycle, when we more than doubled the Republican women elected to Congress,” Ms. Stefanik said in a statement. “In 2020, GOP women were history makers, and in 2022, GOP women will be majority makers.”

The candidates endorsed by Ms. Stefanik‘s PAC are all running to flip Democrat-held seats:

• Esther Joy King who is running for retiring Rep. Cheri Bustos’ seat in Illinois.



• Amanda Adkins is running in Kansas’ 3rd District, currently represented by Rep. Sharice Davids.

• Karoline Leavitt is running in New Hampshire’s 1st District, currently held by Rep. Chris Pappas.

• April Becker is running in Nevada’s 3rd District, currently represented by Rep. Susie Lee.

• Lisa Scheller is running in Pennsylvania’s 7th District, currently represented by Rep. Susan Wild.

• Monica De La Cruz is running in Texas’ 15 District, currently represented by Rep. Vicente Gonzalez.

• Jen Kiggans is running in Virginia’s 2nd District, currently represented by Rep. Elaine Luria.

• Jeanine Lawson is running in Virginia’s 10th District, currently represented by Rep. Jennifer Wexton.

Republicans have ramped up efforts to recruit more diverse candidates to Congress in recent years.

Other venues, such as Catalyst PAC, seek to recruit candidates from different “racial, ethnic, religious and sexual orientation backgrounds” to expand representation in the national GOP.

Democrats have long led Republicans in recruiting candidates of color and women with groups like Emily’s List and Emerge, which support Democratic women.

Illinois Rep. Lauren Underwood launched American Mosaic PAC to recruit more Democratic candidates of color. Ms. Underwood, 35, who represents the Chicago suburbs, became the youngest Black woman to be elected to the House in 2018.

“When we elect representatives who are a reflection of their communities, we win. Our diversity is our strength,” American Mosaic PAC’s website reads.

Ms. Stefanik, who was elected in 2018 at the age of 30, was the youngest woman at the time to be elected to the House or Senate. She is currently the highest-ranking Republican woman in Congress.

Her new list of recruits included some familiar faces.

Ms. King, who is a U.S. Army veteran and lawyer, ran against Ms. Bustos in 2020. She said the mobilization efforts around conservative women have only grown since the last election cycle.

“A lot of conservative women are standing up and saying enough is enough, and this race in particular, we are one of the top competitive districts in the entire country,” Ms. King told The Washington Times. “I’m honored to be someone who’s stepping up to that challenge to become a voice for females and a voice for veterans in Congress.”

Ms. Bustos announced her intent to retire earlier this year.

Ms. Leavitt, who wants to flip New Hampshire’s 1st District, previously served as Ms. Stefanik‘s communications director and as a press secretary in the Trump White House.

“Karoline was a proven fighter working in my office and I have watched her bring that same energy and passion in her own campaign for Congress,” Ms. Stefanik said in her endorsement statement.

Since its founding, E-PAC has raised and donated more than $3 million for Republican women candidates.

In 2020, 11 out of 15 seats that flipped from Democrat to Republican were women candidates endorsed by the PAC, more than doubling the 13 women who were serving in the conference in 2019.

So far, nearly 200 GOP women have filed to run for office in the 2022 election cycle, marking a record high for the party.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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