Republican political action committee Maggie's List endorsed 12 women running in House races across the country, marking the latest batch of endorsements for the group dedicated to electing Republican women.
The list of challengers, which was released exclusively to The Hill, includes former Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.), who lost her reelection bid to Democratic Rep. Lucy McBath in 2018 after becoming the first woman to represent Georgia's 6th Congressional District in 2017. The Cook Political Report has rated the district a toss-up going into 2020.
The endorsed candidates also include Mariannette Miller-Meeks in Iowa's 2nd Congressional District and former Minnesota state House Rep. Regina Barr for the state's 2nd Congressional District. The Cook Political Report has rated both districts as toss-ups.
The latest endorsements mark the second batch from Maggie's List in the 2020 campaign cycle.
The announcement comes as conservative women groups look to recruit more GOP women to run for office as powerful left-leaning groups like EMILY's List aim to recruit and endorse more Democratic women to run.
"The conservative female candidates got shellacked in the 2018 election. The MeToo movement really stepped in with EMILY's List, and the full backing of the Democrat and liberal side supporting women to really make a mark in increasing their numbers in the current Congress to 106," Jennifer Carroll, spokeswoman for Maggie's List and a former Florida lieutenant governor, told The Hill.
Only 23.7 percent of women make up the House and Senate, according to Rutgers University's Center for American Women and Politics.
On the GOP side, there are currently only 21 women serving in both chambers of Congress. Carroll called the number "abysmal."
"Anyone looking at it, whether it's the [Republican National Committee] RNC [or] the congressional leadership, they should see that as a wake-up call," Carroll said.
"When female candidates, our conservative female candidates, step into the arena, it's not about making a name for themselves. It's about doing something getting to work rolling their sleeves up making a difference for not only their community but for the rest of the nation."
The group on Thursday also threw their support behind former New Hampshire state House candidate Lynne Blankenbeker for the state's 2nd Congressional District, former Minnesota Lt. Gov. Michelle Fischbach in the state's 7th Congressional District, Florida state House Rep. Heather Fitzenhagen, Armarillo Councilwoman Elaine Hays for Texas's 13th Congressional District, Iowa state House Rep. Ashley Hinson, foreign policy adviser Tina Ramirez for Virginia's 7th Congressional District, businesswoman Lisa Scheller for Pennsylvania's 7th Congressional District, Samaritan Counseling Center board of directors president Jessica Taylor and former private equity firm manager Chele Farley for New York's 18th Congressional District.
Source: The Hill; Julia Manchester