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EMILY's List is an American political action committee (PAC) that aims to help elect pro-choice Democratic female candidates to office. It was founded by Ellen Malcolm in 1985. According to the Washington Examiner, EMILY's List is "the nation's most influential pro-choice political action committee."
The group's name is an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast", Malcolm commenting that "it makes the dough rise". The saying is a reference to a convention of political fundraising: that receiving lots of donations early in a race is helpful in attracting subsequent donors.
Emily’s List bundles contributions to the campaigns of pro-choice Democratic women running in targeted races.
From 1985 until the 2008 election[clarification needed] EMILY's List had raised and spent $240 million for political candidates. EMILY's List spent $27.4 million in 2010, $34 million in 2012, and $44.9 million in 2014. The organization was on track to raise $60 million for the 2016 election cycle, much of it earmarked for Hillary Clinton, whose presidential bid EMILY's List had endorsed.Contents
EMILY's List was founded in 1985, when 25 women met in the home of Ellen Malcolm. Founding members included Barbara Boxer, Ann Richards, Anne Wexler, and Donna Shalala. In 1986, early financial support from EMILY's List helped elect Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, the first female Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate in her own right (not appointed or filling a seat of a deceased husband).
The group's mission is to cultivate a donor network to raise money for pro-choice female Democratic candidates. To become an official EMILY's List member, an individual must pay $100 to join EMILY's List, and agree to donate a minimum of $100 each to two U.S. Senate, U.S. House, or gubernatorial candidates. Members make their donations directly to EMILY's List, which bundles the checks together and forwards them to candidates.
In her book When Women Win: EMILY’s List and the Rise of Women in American Politics, Ellen Malcolm, the founder of the organization, stated that "creating progressive policies and promoting them can be incredibly valuable. But those policies will never be implemented unless enough politicians are elected who support them." They focused specifically on pro-choice women because they felt that "women couldn't be equal until they had control over their bodies."
They chose to focus on raising early money for women because women were not getting money from the Democratic party and thus were not winning races even if they were qualified, and they felt that early money could help convince people that their campaigns were credible and would help them raise more money later on.
For the 2006 election cycle, EMILY's List raised about $46 million for candidates and the group was listed as the biggest PAC in the nation by Political Money Line. EMILY's List endorsed 31 candidates in 2006, eight of whom were victorious.
In 2008, EMILY's List endorsed 22 U.S. House candidates, two U.S. Senate candidates, and three gubernatorial contenders. The PAC helped elect two new female senators, Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and supported the gubernatorial election of Bev Perdue of North Carolina, the re-election of Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington, and the successful elections of twelve new women to the United States House of Representatives.
EMILY’s List criteria for picking candidates include staff recommendations, viability, "demographics and history of the district, analysis of opponents or potential opponents, analysis of candidate’s education, political experience, etc., demonstrated success at fund-raising, poll data to demonstrate name recognition and grass roots support."Staff
Stephanie Schriock took over as President of EMILY’s List in 2010. Amy Dacey was the executive director of EMILY's List from 2010 through 2013.
The organization's board of directors includes Ellen Malcolm, Stephanie Schriock, Joanne Howes, Ranny Cooper, Diana Bell, Mary Beth Cahill, Judith-Ann Corrente, Shefali Razdan Duggal, Ted Gavin, Rebecca Haile, Nikki Heidepriem, Judith Lichtman, Debra L. Ness, and Laura Ricketts.Programs
The Political Opportunity Program (POP) was established in 2001 to encourage pro-choice Democratic women to run for state and local office. POP targets its resources toward pro-choice Democratic women running for state legislatures, state constitutional offices, and local offices.
Women Vote! is Emily’s List’s independent expenditure arm which communicates directly with voters.Madam President
In 2013, EMILY's List announced its Madam President campaign, saying "There is a mandate for women’s leadership in this country. But we have yet to break through the final glass ceiling and put a woman at the top of the Democratic ticket and into the Presidency." Madam President now houses the former social media presences of Ready for Hillary PAC which did grassroots organizing in preparation for Hillary Clinton's presidential candidacy.Criticism
EMILY's List has received criticism from progressive groups and Democratic Congressional candidates, who say that the group is on the "wrong side of the political divide" by supporting ostensibly pro-choice female candidates, regardless of how conservative they are on economic issues, and sometimes endorsing female candidates who are less supportive of reproductive rights than a male opponent. Criticism has also been raised at EMILY's List for not endorsing pro-choice female candidates in primary elections. They would like to see EMILY's List expand its definition of "women's issues" to include economic issues like a higher minimum wage and expanded Social Security. Others have said that the group simply needs to focus its resources better, staying out of races where there is already an incumbent progressive Democrat and focus on other races instead.
Democrat Marcy Kaptur criticized EMILY's List for being too narrow in focus by emphasizing abortion rights over other progressive issues, such as the minimum wage, that also affect women.Endorsements
EMILY’s List provides trainings, recruits women to run, and endorses and funds female political candidates. EMILY’s List is listed as an “important source of candidate support,” in a 2010 article in the Harvard International Review.
Candidates endorsed by EMILY's List include:Candidate Notable For State Position Tammy Duckworth First female amputee elected to Congress IL Congresswoman then Senator Tammy Baldwin First openly gay woman in Congress WI Congresswoman Kamala Harris First African-American, South Asian, and woman to serve as California’s Attorney General CA Senator Pramila Jayapal First Indian-American woman elected to Congress WA Congresswoman Catherine Cortez Masto First Latina elected to US Senate NV Senator Presidential
During the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, when NARAL endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, EMILY's List was strongly critical. EMILY's List President Ellen Malcolm said, “I think it is tremendously disrespectful to Sen. Clinton - who held up the nomination of a FDA commissioner in order to force approval of Plan B and who spoke so eloquently during the Supreme Court nomination about the importance of protecting Roe vs. Wade - to not give her the courtesy to finish the final three weeks of the primary process. It certainly must be disconcerting for elected leaders who stand up for reproductive rights and expect the choice community will stand with them.”
After the conclusion of the Democratic presidential primary, EMILY's List moved their support to Barack Obama and was vocal in their opposition to the McCain/Palin ticket.
On April 12, 2015, EMILY's List endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. The endorsement came within hours of Clinton's announcement that she had formed an exploratory committee to run for president. EMILY's List bundled $855,518 for Clinton, making the group one of the five largest donors to the campaign.
EMILY's List also endorsed Hillary Clinton in the General election against Donald Trump.2012
In 2012, 80% of the candidates endorsed by EMILY's List in the general election won a seat.Candidate Race Outcome Claire McCaskill United States Senate election in Missouri, 2012 Win Elizabeth Warren United States Senate election in Massachusetts, 2012 Win Tammy Baldwin United States Senate election in Wisconsin, 2012 Win Shelley Berkley United States Senate election in Nevada, 2012 Loss Mazie Hirono United States Senate election in Hawaii, 2012 Win Amy Klobuchar United States Senate election in Minnesota, 2012 Win Ann Kirkpatrick Arizona's 1st Congressional District Win Ann McLane Kuster New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District Win Betty Sutton Ohio's 16th Congressional District Loss Carol Shea-Porter New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District Win Cheri Bustos Illinois' 17th Congressional District Win Christie Vilsack Iowa's 4th Congressional District Loss Debbie Stabenow United States Senate election in Michigan, 2012 Win Dianne Feinstein United States Senate election in California, 2012 Win Dina Titus Nevada's 1st Congressional District Win Erin Bilbray Nevada's 3rd Congressional District Loss Elizabeth Esty Connecticut's 5th Congressional District Win Grace Meng New York's 6th Congressional District Win Joyce Beatty Ohio's 3rd Congressional District Win Julia Brownley California's 26th Congressional District Win Kathyrn Boockvar Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional District Loss Kathy Hochul New York's 27th Congressional District Loss Kirsten Gillibrand United States Senate election in New York, 2012 Win Kyrsten Sinema Arizona's 9th Congressional District Win Lois Capps California's 24th Congressional District Win Lois Frankel Florida's 22nd Congressional District Win Louise Slaughter New York's 25th Congressional District Win Maggie Hassan New Hampshire gubernatorial election, 2012 Win Maria Cantwell United States Senate election in Washington, 2012 Win Michelle Lujan Grisham New Mexico's 1st Congressional District Win Shelley Adler New Jersey's 3rd Congressional District Loss Suzan DelBene Washington's 1st Congressional District Win Tammy Duckworth Illinois's 8th Congressional District Win Tulsi Gabbard Hawaii's 2nd Congressional District Win Val Demings Florida's 10th Congressional District Loss Susan Bysiewicz United States Senate election in Connecticut, 2012 Loss Tarryl Clark Minnesota's 8th Congressional District Loss Suzanne Bonamici Oregon's 1st Congressional District Win Janice Hahn California's 44th Congressional District Win Kelda Helen Roys Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District Loss Gloria Romero Roses Florida's 26th Congressional District Loss 2014
In the 2014 election cycle, EMILY's List endorsed 24 U.S. House candidates, six U.S. Senate candidates, and six gubernatorial candidates. Of these 40 candidates endorsed by EMILY's List, 42.5% won.Candidate Race Outcome Alma Adams North Carolina's 12th Congressional District Win Julia Brownley California's 26th Congressional District Win Cheri Bustos Illinois's 17th Congressional District Win Bonnie Watson Coleman New Jersey's 12th Congressional District Win Suzan DelBene Washington's 1st Congressional District Win Debbie Dingell Michigan's 12th Congressional District Win Elizabeth Esty Connecticut's 5th Congressional District Win Gwen Graham Florida's 2nd Congressional District Win Maggie Hassan New Hampshire gubernatorial election, 2014 Win Ann Kirkpatrick Arizona's 1st Congressional District Win Annie Kuster New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District Win Brenda Lawrence Michigan's 14th Congressional District Win Gina Raimondo Rhode Island gubernatorial election, 2014 Win Kathleen Rice New York's 4th Congressional District Win Jeanne Shaheen United States Senate election in New Hampshire, 2014 Win Kyrsten Sinema Arizona's 9th Congressional District Win Norma Torres California's 35th Congressional District Win Staci Appel Iowa's 3rd Congressional District Loss Erin Bilbray Nevada's 3rd Congressional District Loss Ann Callis Illinois's 13th Congressional District Loss Martha Robertson New York's 23rd Congressional District Loss Eloise Gomez Reyes California's 31st Congressional District Loss Michelle Nunn United States Senate election in Georgia, 2014 Loss Alison Lundergan Grimes United States Senate election in Kentucky, 2014 Loss Allyson Schwartz Pennsylvania gubernatorial election, 2014 Loss Amanda Renteria California's 21st Congressional District Loss Natalie Tennant United States Senate election in West Virginia, 2014 Loss Martha Coakley Massachusetts gubernatorial election, 2014 Loss Kay Hagan United States Senate election in North Carolina, 2014 Loss Emily Ann Cain Maine's 2nd Congressional District Loss Pam Byrnes Michigan's 7th Congressional District Loss Suzanne Patrick Virginia's 2nd Congressional District Loss Mary Rose Wilcox Arizona's 7th Congressional District Loss Mary Burke Wisconsin gubernatorial election, 2014 Loss Wendy Davis Texas gubernatorial election, 2014 Loss Similar groups
Similar groups have formed along the same lines as EMILY's List, with some slight variations. The Wish List supports pro-choice Republican women. In 1994, Joan Kirner created a similar organization in Australia by the name EMILY's List Australia.
On the other side of the abortion debate, the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life PAC, supports pro-life women and is seen as the pro-life counterpart to EMILY's List.
Maggie's List is a United States federal political action committee founded in Florida in 2010 to "raise awareness and funds to increase the number of conservative women elected to federal public office."See also