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EMILY’s List endorsed its first five House candidates of the 2012 cycle Friday.

The group announced it is officially backing Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, Lois Frankel in Florida, Ann McLane Kuster in New Hampshire, Ann Kirkpatrick in Arizona and Christie Vilsack in Iowa.

“These five strong Democratic women are running fantastic campaigns, getting voters energized and are eager to bring their voices to Washington,” EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock said. “EMILY’s List couldn’t be more thrilled to throw our full support behind them to help make 2012 another ‘Year of the Woman.’”

EMILY’s List, a campaign organization that backs Democratic women who favor abortion rights, previously had those candidates “On the List,” an initial recommendation to their donors that they earned the group’s seal of approval.

But this week, the group gave the candidates its full backing, saying in a news release that the five are the first House challengers of the 2012 cycle to make the transition to a full endorsement.

Duckworth is running for the seat now held by Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.). Frankel is seeking the seat held by Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), and Kuster’s likely opponent in New Hampshire is GOP Rep. Charlie Bass.

Kirkpatrick is seeking a rematch with Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who unseated her in 2010. Vilsack is running in Iowa’s new 4th district, where her probable opponent is GOP Rep. Steve King.

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