EMILY’s List — a national group that endorses Democratic women running for office — is pledging to help Patty Judge in her race against Republican Chuck Grassley.
“We are a network of three million members nationwide,” says Rachel Thomas, press secretary for EMILY’s List. “We will be communicating with that network about her candidacy, about the stakes in this race.”
The group’s website features videos of each of the candidates it has endorsed in 2016, along with a direct link to donate. A portal for Patty Judge’s campaign is going up the EMILY’s List website today.
“We are excited to support so many woman across the country and make sure that we are helping them build strong and successful campaigns where it’s needed most,” Thomas says.
Iowa State University political science professor Dianne Bystrom says since its founding in 1985, no other group raised more money than EMILY’s List has for Democratic women running for office.
“One of the things we know from research is that donations to women’s campaigns, because there are so few women in elected office — especially congress — come from other women and men from throughout the country who are interested in electing females to local, state and federal government,” Bystrom says.
Iowa Democratic Party chairwoman Andy McGuire says 30 years ago when EMILY’s List started, it helped provide “seed money” for female candidates as they started competing against men in primaries.
“You know, early money is like yeast and it grows, so that’s how you got to the General (Election), but they’ve become very effective in the General (Election) as well,” McGuire says.
The group describes U.S. Senate candidate Patty Judge as “a champion for women and families who will make sure all Iowans’ voices are heard in the U.S. Senate.” The group’s endorsement announcement emphasizes Judge’s status as the first woman elected to be Iowa’s secretary of agriculture. It also mentions Judge is the mother of three children and lists her careers as a nurse, a realtor, a farm mediator and as a farmer, alongside her husband.
EMILY’s List is backing another Iowa Democrat on the November ballot. Fifteen months ago the group endorsed Monica Vernon in her bid for Iowa’s first district congressional seat and EMILY’s List ran ads this spring supporting Vernon in the Democratic Primary. EMILY’s List has not yet indicated whether it will buy ad time for commercials supporting Patty Judge.
In 2014, the EMILY’s List PAC raised and spent nearly $45 million on female candidates around the country.