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RightNOW Women PAC endorses Joni Ernst

Iowa state Sen. Joni Ernst, who is competing in the state Republican primary to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D), received the endorsement of RightNOW Women PAC on Tuesday. She is the second of five female candidates that the group will endorse this week.

RightNOW was created by Marlene Colucci, a former aide to George W. Bush, and was launched earlier this year to recruit young women to get involved in the Republican Party. Virginia state Del. Barbara Comstock, who is running to replace retiring U.S. Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.)  was endorsed by the group  Monday.

Brittany Thune, a founder of the PAC and daughter of Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), said that in previous election cycles women did not have opportunities to get involved and support the issues they cared about, such as jobs, education and a strong national defense.

“We want to support qualified and smart women,” she said. “The right candidates. We haven’t always had the right candidates.”

The election of women who can inspire and motivate, Thune said, will only attract more women who can identify with those lawmakers to the movement. “We want to support candidates we can relate to,” she said. “Someone smart, who knows what she’s talking about.”

Members watched a promotional video for the group at a meeting Monday night, that featured Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Kristie Noem (R-S.D.) praising the group’s efforts.

“They are putting their money where their mouth is,” Blackburn said in the video. “Saving our Republican Party and saving freedom is going to be done by women.”

[posttv url="http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/politics/rightnow-women-pac/2014/03/11/fcd73314-a923-11e3-8a7b-c1c684e2671f_video.html" ]

But not too much money. The group’s first event, which drew more than 400 people, mostly young women, cost $25 a person – an intentionally lower figure to attract younger voters who aren’t financially able to “max out” to candidates.

While the group is just getting started, Thune said, but members hope to not only play in the 2014 election but to build their network ahead of the 2016 election.

Republicans of all stripes have been working to attract more women to their ranks and escape the “war on women” narrative that Democrats successfully used against them in 2012.

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Republicans debate tonight. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
He says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything in the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
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Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
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The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
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Feb. 20

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