EMILY's List

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EMILY's List
EMILY's List (logo).svg
Motto Ignite Change
Formation 1985; 33 years ago (1985)[1]
Founder Ellen Malcolm
Purpose To elect pro-choice Democratic women to political office
Headquarters Washington, D.C., U.S.
3 million[2]
Stephanie Schriock
$44,878,362 (2014)[3]
Website www.emilyslist.org

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 group's name is an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast", Malcolm commenting that "it makes the dough rise".[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 until the 2008 election[clarification needed] 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 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.[8][9]

History and mission[edit]

Ellen Malcolm attending an EMILY's List event.

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 (not appointed or filling a seat of a deceased husband).[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]

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."[12] They focused specifically on pro-choice women because they felt that "women couldn't be equal until they had control over their bodies."[13]

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,[14] and they felt that early money could help convince people that their campaigns were credible and would help them raise more money later on.[15]

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.[16] 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]

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."[15]


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.[17]

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.[18]


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.[19]

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

Madam President[edit]

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."[20] 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.[21]


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.[22]

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]


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,”[23] 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[24] IL Congresswoman then Senator
Tammy Baldwin First openly gay woman in Congress[25] WI Congresswoman
Kamala Harris First African-American, South Asian, and woman to serve as California’s Attorney General[26] CA Senator
Pramila Jayapal First Indian-American woman elected to Congress[27] WA Congresswoman
Catherine Cortez Masto First Latina elected to US Senate[28] NV Senator


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.”[29]

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.[30]

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.[31][7] EMILY's List bundled $855,518 for Clinton, making the group one of the five largest donors to the campaign.[7]

EMILY's List also endorsed Hillary Clinton in the General election against Donald Trump.[8]


In 2012, 80% of the candidates endorsed by EMILY's List in the general election won a seat.[32]

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.[33]

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[edit]

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.[34]

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."[35][36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c O'Connor, Karen (2010). Gender and Women's Leadership: A Reference Handbook. SAGE Publications. p. 152. ISBN 9781452266350. 
  2. ^ Siddiqui, Sabrina (November 7, 2013). "Emily's List Membership Hits 3 Million As Women Candidates Attract National Attention". Huffington Post. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c "EMILY's List". OpenSecrets.org. Center for Responsive Politics. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Halloran, Liz (April 29, 2010). "Mother Of Women's PACs Seeks Younger Supporters". NPR. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  5. ^ Bedard, Paul (July 16, 2013). "Top Obama ally touts Janet Napolitano, Texas abortion defender Wendy Davis, for president". Washington Examiner. 
  6. ^ "EMILY's List Mission". 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h Vaida, Bara; Skalka, Jennifer (June 28, 2008). "Can EMILY's List Get Its Mojo Back?". National Journal. Archived from the original on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Chambers, Francesca (July 10, 2015). "Hillary to share in $60 MILLION cash bonanza from pro-abortion campaigners as they launch massive effort to turn Washington female and pro-choice". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  9. ^ Blumenthal, Paul (June 19, 2015). "EMILY's List Already Raising Big Bucks For Hillary Clinton". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 July 2015. 
  10. ^ a b Pimlott, Jamie Pamelia (2010). Women and the Democratic Party: The Evolution of Emily's List. Cambria Press. ISBN 9781604976557. 
  11. ^ Pluta, Rick (October 17, 1993). "Raising Dough". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  12. ^ https://www2.tulane.edu/newcomb/upload/power_to_choose.pdf
  13. ^ Malcolm, Ellen, and Craig Unger. When Women Win: EMILY's List and the Rise of Women in American Politics. New York City: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 68. Print.
  14. ^ Malcolm, Ellen, and Craig Unger. When Women Win: EMILY's List and the Rise of Women in American Politics. New York City: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 38. Print.
  15. ^ a b Malcolm, Ellen, and Craig Unger. When Women Win: EMILY's List and the Rise of Women in American Politics. New York City: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. 39. Print.
  16. ^ "Sweet column: Hillary Clinton gets key endorsement for 2008 bid". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on 2008-01-13. 
  17. ^ Neff, Blake (October 31, 2013). "DNC taps EMILY's List chief as new executive director". The Hill. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  18. ^ "Board of Directors". EMILY's List. Retrieved 6 February 2015. 
  19. ^ O'Hea, Olivia (February 27, 2014). "Event empowers young women to run for office". The Times-Delphi. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  20. ^ "EMILY's List introduces "Madam President"". www.emilyslist.org. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  21. ^ Andrews, Natalie (2015-04-03). "Fans of 'Ready For Hillary' Headed to Emily's List". WSJ Blogs - Washington Wire. Retrieved 2015-11-07. 
  22. ^ "Progressive Left's Latest Target: EMILY's List". The Daily Beast. September 4, 2014. Retrieved September 19, 2014. 
  23. ^ Life's a Party: Do Political Parties Help or Hinder Women?, p 39
  24. ^ MILLER, BRIAN CRAIG. “EPILOGUE.” Empty Sleeves: Amputation in the Civil War South, University of Georgia Press, Athens; London, 2015, pp. 175, https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt175741k.12.
  25. ^ (Wisconsin’s Second District: History in the Making). Page 199
  26. ^ Kamala Harris." EMILY's List. EMILY's List, 2016. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.
  27. ^ "Pramila Jayapal." EMILY's List. EMILY's List, 2016. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.
  28. ^ "Catherine Cortez-Masto." EMILY's List. EMILY's List, 2016. Web. 25 Nov. 2016.
  29. ^ Horowitz, Jason (May 14, 2008). "EMILY's List Trashes NARAL for Obama Endorsement". New York Observer. Archived from the original on May 29, 2010. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  30. ^ Curran, Dan (September 17, 2008). "National Organization for Woman Endorses Obama, Snubs Palin". CNN. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  31. ^ https://www.emilyslist.org/news/entry/emilys-list-endorses-hillary-clinton-for-president
  32. ^ Good, Chris (November 14, 2012). "Claire McCaskill, Emily's List Celebrate Women's Wins in 2012". ABC News. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  33. ^ Gold Matea (April 16, 2014). "EMILY's List powering Democratic women fundraising totals". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  34. ^ Gardner, Amy (May 14, 2010). "Sarah Palin issues a call to action to 'mama grizzlies'". Washington Post. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  35. ^ Cyphers, Karen (2013-06-10). "Jeb Bush to headline Maggie's List event honoring fiscally conservative legislators". SaintPetersBlog. Retrieved 2015-06-13. 
  36. ^ "Maggie's List. Women's Political Action Committee. Who we are and what we do". Maggieslist.org. Archived from the original on 2015-07-07. Retrieved 2015-06-13. 

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