In a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone very much, EMILY’s List is endorsing State Sen. President Joan Fitz-Gerald in the race for the Democratic nomination Congress in the 2nd congressional district.
EMILY’s List is the largest political action committee in the country with 100,000 members. Since 1985, the group has raised $240 million to help elect 67 pro-choice Democratic women to the U.S House, 13 to the U.S. Senate and eight governors.The endorsement is a boost for Fitz-Gerald, but was not unexpected. In an interview in early June, Fitz-Gerald said that in her national political work, “I’ve worked with EMILY’s List over the last three years and have a very good relationship with them … I am someone who I think is the epitome of an EMILY’s List candidate.”
All three candidates in the CD-2 race — Fitz-Gerald, Jared Polis and Will Shafroth — have taken strong pro-choice positions. Fitz-Gerald picked up this endorsement because:
“Joan Fitz-Gerald is a strong voice for the people of Colorado. She has proven herself a leader time and again,” Ellen R. Malcolm, president of EMILY’s List, says in a release. “We are proud to support a candidate who has been such a trailblazer for women in Colorado politics. Her experience and dedication to her constituents will make her an excellent representative for the second district.”
According to EMILY’s List communications director Ramona Oliver,
“Typically, women make up the majority of Democratic voters, around 52 percent, in the general election. But in the primary it is even higher, upwards of 60 percent. So having women’s organizations like EMILY’s List to mobilize women voters will give Sen. Fitz-Gerald a huge boost.”
Unlike a typical PAC, which usually just writes a check of up to $5,000 per election cycle to support a chosen candidate, EMILY’s List sends a recommended list of endorsed candidates to its membership, who then decide individually whom they will support. The members then write the checks. The average donation is small, a little less than $100, but the group raised a total of $11 million in the last election cycle, $8 million of which went to House candidates. Because of this unusual method of fundraising, it’s impossible to say how much the endorsement is worth in contributions to Fitz-Gerald’s campaign, Oliver says.
There has been a persistent rumor that Fitz-Gerald plans to step down from her leadership position in the state legislature in order to focus on the CD-2 race. Campaign manager Mary Alice Mandarich said, “She has not made any decision about that. She’s very committed to this race, but she hasn’t made up her mind.”
In other CD-2 campaign events, Jared Polis has announced a contest to design the official logo for his campaign. The public is invited to submit designs reflecting “the campaign’s progressive message of innovation, hope and opportunity.” Details about submitting are available at www.polisforcongress.com.