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Logo of EMILY's List.

EMILY's List is a political action committee (PAC) in the United States that aims to help elect progressive female candidates who are pro-choice to office. It was founded by Ellen Malcolm in 1984.

The name EMILY's List is an acronym for "Early Money Is Like Yeast," from the common political saying, "Early money is like yeast, because it helps to raise the dough." A common misconception among the public is that the organization was named after a woman named Emily.

The saying is a reference to a convention of political fundraising: that receiving lots of donations early in a race is helpful in scaring off challengers and attracting other, later donors.



EMILY's List was founded in 1985, when 25 women met in the home of Ellen Malcolm. Their goal was to form a network to raise money for pro-choice female candidates. The network was designed to provide its members with information about candidates and encourage them to write checks directly to the candidates.

In 1986, EMILY's List was instrumental in electing Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, the first Democratic woman elected to the US Senate in her own right.

In 2004, the group helped elect five new pro-choice Democratic women to the U.S. House.[citation needed]

In 2005, EMILY's List celebrated its 20th Anniversary at a gala in Washington, D.C. Speakers included then-newly elected Congresswoman Gwen Moore (WI), Senator Barbara Mikulski (MD), and Governor Jennifer Granholm (MI).

Also in 2005, Ellen Moran as executive director for the second time to head the nation's largest political action committee,[1] before becoming Barack Obama's communications director in November 2008.

In 2006, the group helped elect eight new pro-choice Democratic women to the U.S. House, aiding in the second largest increase in history at that time. The re-election of all female Senate incumbents and the addition of Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen Amy Klobuchar brought the number of women in the Senate to a new high of 16.[2] For the 2006 election, EMILY's List raised about $46 million for candidates in the 2006 contests and it is listed as the biggest PAC in the nation by Political Money Line, an independent source of information about campaign fund-raising.[3]

On January 20, 2007, EMILY's List endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. The endorsement came within hours of Senator Clinton's announcement that she was forming an exploratory committee to run for president.

During the Democratic presidential primaries, when pro-choice organization NARAL endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton, EMILY's List was strongly critical. President Ellen R. 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.”[4]

After the conclusion of the Presidential primary, EMILY's List moved their support to Barack Obama and was vocal in their protest of the McCain/Palin ticket.

The 2008 cycle was the second most successful cycle in EMILY's List history, second only to 1992's "The year of the woman". The PAC helped elect two new female senators, Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and supported the election of Gov. 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.[citation needed]

Similar Groups

Similar groups have formed along the same lines as EMILY's List, with some slight variations. The Wish List is a smaller group that supports pro-choice United States Republican Party women (WISH is an acronym for "Women in the Senate and the House"). In 1994, Joan Kirner created a similar organization in Australia by the name EMILY's List Australia.

See also


External links



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