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Arizona rep to play leading role in GOP women's group ahead of midterms

Arizona rep to play leading role in GOP women's group ahead of midterms
© Greg Nash

Republican women's group Maggie's List named Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko (R) as its 2021 congressional chairwoman on Monday as women in the party look to capitalize on the gains made in the House in November. 

"I just want to recruit as many Republican congresswomen as possible to be partners in the program," Lesko told The Hill in an interview. "Our goal is to elect more conservative Republican women, so we want to work together with the other Republican women groups and meet with them and coordinate with them." 

The Hill was the first outlet to report on Lesko's new role within the group. 

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The news comes after GOP women made gains on Capitol Hill in 2020, with the number of Republican women in Congress growing from 22 to 38, breaking their previous record of 30. 

However, Republican women still trail Democrats, who have 106 women serving as part of their party's ranks. 

Lesko said groups like Maggie's List will be able to increase those numbers by getting involved at the primary stage. 

"I had 11 opponents — they were all men in my first Republican primary," she said. "I had the support of conservative women groups and that just gave me a boost. It gave me a financial boost, but [also] a morale boost and encouragement, and I think that's what women need." 

However, many upcoming GOP primaries are likely to become contentious, with the party divided on how closely to remain tethered to former President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: LeBron James's 'racist rants' are divisive, nasty North Carolina man accused of fraudulently obtaining .5M in PPP loans Biden announces picks to lead oceans, lands agencies MORE.

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At the Conservative Political Action Conference on Sunday, Trump name-checked a number of Republican House members who voted to impeach him, including GOP Conference Chair Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyFemale Republicans 'horrified' by male GOP lawmaker's description of Cheney: report Cheney on Trump going to GOP retreat in Florida: 'I haven't invited him' RNC raises nearly M in record off-year March donations MORE (Wyo.) and Rep. Jaime Herrera BeutlerJaime Lynn Herrera BeutlerRepublicans who backed Trump impeachment see fundraising boost Lawmakers urge Capitol Police release IG report on riot House Republicans who backed Trump impeachment warn Democrats on Iowa election challenge MORE (Wash.), implying they should be primaried. 

However, Lesko says the GOP is not a one-size-fits-all party and that each district's primary will be dealt with differently. 

"We'll see on a case basis what happens as it pertains to Maggie's List," Lesko said. "Every district in the nation is different. So there are some districts that will be more pro-Trump and there are other districts that will be less pro-Trump."