EMILY's List members are dedicated to building a progressive America by electing pro-choice Democratic women to office. We believe in the power of women as candidates, as contributors, as campaign professionals, and as voters to bring about great change in our country.
EMILY's List is committed to a three-pronged strategy to elect pro-choice Democratic women: recruiting and funding viable women candidates; helping them build and run effective campaign organizations; and mobilizing women voters to help elect progressive candidates across the nation.
In 1985, 25 women, rolodexes in hand, gathered in Ellen Malcolm’s basement to send letters to their friends about a network they were forming to raise money for pro-choice Democratic women candidates. These “founding mothers” pioneered a new concept in fundraising: a donor network that would provide its members with information about candidates and encourage them to write checks directly to the candidates they choose.
At that time, no Democratic woman had been elected to the U.S. Senate in her own right, no woman had been elected governor of a large state, and the number of Democratic women in the U.S. House of Representatives had declined. Frustrated by the barriers that prevented women from making it to the top political offices, these women founded EMILY’s List to elect more women to the Congress, and as governors.
Since that day, EMILY’s List has grown to more than 100,000 members, raised millions of dollars, and helped elect record numbers of women to office. An acronym for “Early Money Is Like Yeast” (it makes the dough rise...), EMILY’s List has become one of the nation’s largest political action committees.
In 1986 EMILY’s List raised over $545,000 for two Senate candidates and EMILY's List operations. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland became the first Democratic woman elected to the Senate in her own right. Membership in EMILY’s List was at 1,155.
In 1998 Nita Lowey (N.Y.) and Jolene Unsoeld (Wash.) reversed a 14-year decline in the number of Democratic women in the U.S. House, raising it to 14. EMILY’s List recommended nine congressional candidates to more than 2,000 members and raised $905,000.
In 1990 EMILY’s List broke the million-dollar mark. Members contributed $2.7 million to EMILY's List and 14 candidates and helped elect two governors and seven members of Congress. Membership exceeded 3,500.
In 1992, in what was called “The Year of the Woman,” EMILY’s List helped elect four new pro- choice Democratic women senators and 20 new congresswomen. Membership grew more than 600 percent. More than 23,000 members contributed over $10.2 million. EMILY's List was featured in national prime time when 60 Minutes aired an extensive profile that helped to raise visibility and make exponential fundraising and membership growth possible.
In 1994, EMILY's List became a full-service political organization that raises money for women candidates, helps them build strong campaigns, and mobilizes women voters. Members helped elect four new Democratic congresswomen and return Dianne Feinstein to the U.S. Senate. The first WOMEN VOTE! project was launched in California, where women voters provided the margin of victory for Feinstein and other Democrats. Members contributed more than $8.7 million to recommended candidates and membership grew to 33,156.
In 1996, 45,000 EMILY’s List members contributed $21 million to women candidates and EMILY’s List. EMILY’s List helped 31 states conduct WOMEN VOTE! projects, which targeted 2.7 million women voters with 7.5 million pieces of mail and 500,000 phone calls urging them to vote. EMILY’s List helped elect a pro-choice Democratic woman senator, nine congresswomen, and one governor. The EMILY’s List Women’s Monitor, a national survey of women voters, provided a barometer of women voters’ attitudes to the press and public.
In 1998 50,000 members contributed $21 million to elect a pro-choice Democratic woman senator and seven new congresswomen, bringing the total to a record high of 43 Democratic women in Congress. WOMEN VOTE! projects in 26 states targeted 3.4 million women with nearly 8 million pieces of mail and over 2 million phone calls.
In 2000 in the 2000 election, 68,000 members of EMILY’s List contributed nearly $32 million, helping to bring four new pro-choice Democratic women to the Senate and four to the House. Democratic women reached an all time high of 10 in the Senate and 41 in the House. WOMEN VOTE! projects helped to mobilize women voters in key battleground states. In 2001, EMILY’s List created the Political Opportunity Program, which recruits, trains, and supports pro-choice Democratic women running for state legislative, constitutional and key local offices.
In 2002 in the 2002 elections, EMILY’s List helped elect three new pro-choice Democratic women governors and added two new women of color to the U.S. House. Every EMILY’s List incumbent seeking re-election won, and pro-choice Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Minority Leader in Congress. EMILY’s List and its almost 73,000 members contributed nearly $32 million EMILY’s List and our pro-choice Democratic women candidates. In 2002, EMILY’s List launched Campaign Corps, a competitive program that trains a select group of recent college graduates to work in targeted progressive Democratic campaigns leading up to election day.
In the 2004 election, EMILY’s List raised roughly $44 million and added five new women to the U.S. House - the most since 1998. Every single EMILY’s List incumbent seeking reelection won and EMILY’s List helped elect 140 women to state and local offices across the country with support from our Political Opportunity Program. These victories at the state level helped Democrats regain control of legislative bodies in 6 states where women serve in leadership positions. EMILY’s List developed the “Air EMILY” project, which trained and mobilized 1300 activists to get out the vote on election day in Florida.
In the 2006 election, EMILY’s List raised $46 million and EMILY’s List candidates won critical House and Senate races that helped return control of Congress to Democrats, increase the number of women in Congress to record-breaking levels, and elevate Rep. Nancy Pelosi to her historic role as the first woman Speaker of the House. All three Democratic incumbent governors up for re-election won. The EMILY’s List Political Opportunity Program (POP) endorsed in 23 statewide races and won 20 of those seats, the largest increase in a single election for Democratic women in statewide office in history.
EMILY’s List WOMEN VOTE! drove one of the largest women voter programs in the country, investing more than $8.5 million into reaching women voters in more than 21 races across the country -- using groundbreaking micro-targeting to identify women voters in key battleground districts and help Democrats win up and down the ballot.
In 2008 EMILY’s list raised more than $43 million and helped elect 12 new women to the U.S. House (the second-highest increase in history), two new women to the U.S. Senate, and the first woman governor of North Carolina. All incumbents supported by EMILY’s List were re-elected. The 2008 cycle also marked EMILY’s List’s first presidential endorsement, of Democrat Hillary Clinton. EMILY’s List raised money for Clinton’s campaign and turned out millions of women to vote for her in primaries -- helping to spark a surge of enthusiasm that continued through the general election, in which EMILY’s List WOMEN VOTE! contacted nearly 6.5 million women in 16 states, including seven states critical to the election of Barack Obama. EMILY’s List’s Political Opportunity Program (POP) helped train more than 1,300 people and helped 175 pro-choice Democratic women candidates in 32 states win, including 10 statewide candidates.
In 2009, with her special election victory in California’s 32nd congressional district, Rep. Judy Chu became the 80th woman that EMILY’s List has helped elect to the U.S. House of Representatives. WOMEN VOTE! ran an extensive direct mail program to reach out to 24,000 voters throughout the 32nd district, helping Chu rise above a crowded primary field and cruise to a general election victory.
The following are members of the leadership of the organization:
- Ellen R. Malcolm, President and Founder
- Britt Cocanour, Chief of Staff
- Jonathan Parker, Political Director
Current candidates supporting
- Martha Coakley, U.S. Senate, Massachusetts
- Kirsten Gillibrand, U.S. Senate, New York
- Cheryle Robinson Jackson, U.S. Senate, Illinois
- Robin Carnahan, U.S. Senate, Missouri
- Alex Sink, Governor, Florida
- Colleen Hanabusa, U.S. House of Representatives, Hawaii
- Julie Hamos, U.S. House, Illinois
- Mary Jo Kilroy, U.S. House, Ohio
- Ann McLane Kuster, U.S. House, New Hampshire
- Betsy Markey, U.S. House, Colorado
The following is a list of candidates that the organization has successfully endorsed:
- Arizona: Janet Napolitano
- Delaware: Ruth Ann Minner
- Kansas: Kathleen Sebelius
- Michigan: Jennifer Granholm
- New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen
- North Carolina: Bev Perdue
- Oregon: Barbara Roberts
- Texas: Ann Richards
- Washington: Christine Gregoire
- Arkansas: Blanche Lambert Lincoln
- California: Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein
- Illinois: Carol Moseley Braun
- Louisiana: Mary Landrieu
- Maryland: Barbara Mikulski
- Michigan: Debbie Stabenow
- Minnesota: Amy Klobuchar
- Missouri: Jean Carnahan, Claire McCaskill
- New York: Hillary Clinton
- New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen
- North Carolina: Kay Hagan
- Washington: Maria Cantwell, Patty Murray
- Arizona: Karan English, Gabrielle Giffords, Ann Kirkpatrick
- Arkansas: Blanche Lambert Lincoln
- California: Lois Capps, Judy Chu, Susan Davis, Anna Eshoo, Jane Harman, Barbara Lee, Zoe Lofgren, Doris Matsui, Juanita Millender-McDonald, Grace Napolitano, Laura Richardson, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Linda Sanchez, Loretta Sanchez, Lynn Schenk, Hilda Solis, Jackie Speier, Ellen Tauscher, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, Lynn Woolsey
- Colorado: Diana DeGette, Betsy Markey
- Connecticut: Rosa DeLauro
- Florida: Corrine Brown, Kathy Castor, Suzanne Kosmas, Carrie Meek, Karen Thurman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz
- Georgia: Denise Majette, Cynthia McKinney
- Hawaii: Mazie Hirono, Patsy Mink
- Illinois: Melissa Bean, Debbie Halvorson, Jan Schakowsky
- Indiana: Julia Carson, Jill Long
- Maine: Chellie Pingree
- Maryland: Donna Edwards
- Massachusetts: Niki Tsongas
- Michigan: Barbara-Rose Collins, Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, Lynn Rivers, Debbie Stabenow
- Minnesota: Betty McCollum
- Missouri: Karen McCarthy
- Nevada: Shelley Berkley, Dina Titus
- New Hampshire: Carol Shea-Porter
- New York: Yvette Clarke, Kirsten Gillibrand, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Carolyn McCarthy, Louise Slaughter, Nydia Velazquez
- North Carolina: Eva Clayton
- Ohio: Marcia Fudge, Mary Jo Kilroy, Betty Sutton, Stephanie Tubbs Jones
- Oregon: Elizabeth Furse, Darlene Hooley
- Pennsylvania: Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky, Allyson Schwartz
- South Dakota: Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
- Texas: Eddie Bernice Johnson, Sheila Jackson Lee
- Utah: Karen Shepherd
- Virginia: Leslie Byrne
- Washington: Maria Cantwell, Jolene Unsoeld
- Washington, DC: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton
- Wisconsin: Tammy Baldwin, Gwen Moore