EMILY's List announces first round of top candidates

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The group put six female candidates, all of whom have announced bids for House seats, "On the List," an indication its keeping an eye on their candidacies. The designation is just short of an endorsement, which comes with support from EMILY's List's PAC, but it does ensure "that [the candidates] have access to this powerful network of supporters," according to a release.

The first round of candidates put "On the List" includes Ann Callis, challenging Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.); Katherine Clark, running for Rep. Edward Markey's (D-Mass.) House seat, which he'd vacate if he wins the Massachusetts special Senate election, as expected; Jessica Ehrlich, running against Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.); Gwen Graham, challenging Rep. Steve Southerland (R-Fla.); Eloise Reyes, challenging Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.); and Martha Robertson, running against Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.).

If these candidates ultimately nab an EMILY's List endorsement, that will engage the group in a number of contentious Democratic primaries. That includes what is already a three-candidate primary fight for Markey's reliably-blue House seat, and the primary to challenge Miller, which could pit EMILY's List against establishment Democrats, who favor Redlands Mayor Pete Aguilar.

EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock noted the group's success rate during the 2012 cycle, and suggested early interest from the group's supporters could help boost further female candidates to wins in 2014.

“Now it’s time to get involved even earlier in the campaigns of fantastic women leaders so that they have what they need to win, and get Washington working for women and families," she said.

"Ann, Katherine, Jessica, Gwen, Eloise, and Martha, are all experienced public servants – educators, attorneys, legislators and small business owners – who have what it takes to fight back against the GOP’s continued War on Women, and tackle the nation’s toughest problems. The EMILY’s List community is thrilled to get involved in the early days of their campaigns.”