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EMILY's List

EMILY's List
Motto Ignite Change
Formation 1985[1]
Purpose To elect pro-choice Democratic women to political office
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
3 million[2]
Stephanie Schriock
$44,878,362 (2014)[3]
Website .org.emilyslistwww

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.[4] According to the Washington Examiner, EMILY's List is "the nation's most influential pro-choice political action committee."[5]

The name EMILY's List is an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast" (i.e., it raises dough).[4] 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.[6][7]

From 1985 through the 2008 election, EMILY's List had raised and spent $240 million for political candidates.[1] EMILY's List spent $27.4 million in 2010, $34 million in 2012, and $44.9 million in 2014.[3] The organization is on track to raise $60 million for the 2016 election cycle, much of it earmarked for Hillary Clinton, whose presidential bid EMILY's List has endorsed.[8][9]


  • History and mission 1
  • Staff 2
  • Programs 3
  • Criticism 4
  • Endorsements 5
    • Presidential 5.1
    • 2012 5.2
    • 2014 5.3
  • Similar groups 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9

History and mission

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.[7] 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.[1][10]

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.[11]

For the 2006 election cycle, EMILY's List raised about $46 million for candidates in the 2006 contests and the group was listed as the biggest PAC in the nation by Political Money Line.[12] EMILY's List endorsed 31 candidates in 2006, eight of whom were victorious.[7]

In 2008, EMILY's List endorsed 22 U.S. House candidates, two U.S. Senate candidates, and three gubernatorial contenders.[7] 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.[10]


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.[13]

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.[14]


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.[15]

Women Vote! is EMILY’s List’s independent expenditure arm which communicates directly with voters.[7]


EMILY's List has received criticism from progressives, 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. 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.[16]

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.[7]



On January 20, 2007, 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.[7] EMILY's List bundled $855,518 for Clinton, making the group one of the five largest donors to the campaign.[7]

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.”[17]

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.[18]

EMILY's List has endorsed Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.[8]


In 2012, 80% of the candidates endorsed by EMILY's List in the general election were victorious.[19]
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


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.[20]
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. 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.[21]

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."[22][23]

See also


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  7. ^ a b c d e f g h
  8. ^ a b
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  23. ^

External links

  • EMILY's List website
  • PAC recipients list
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