By ALEXANDER BURNS, POLITICO- The Democratic group EMILY’s List has handed out a string of endorsements in recent weeks to a group of candidates with at least one thing in common: no matter how well they do in their campaigns, none of them will be coming to Washington.
That’s because the influential women’s organization is deploying its political muscle far away from the federal level, in several high-profile mayoral races where women candidates stand to make history by becoming the first female chief executives of their home cities.
EMILY’s List officials said the decision to dive into local politics with a new intensity stemmed from a desire to see more Democratic women in positions of executive power. By pursuing that goal in the 2013 elections, they hope to help set the stage for vaulting more women into governor’s offices in 2014 – and perhaps putting a woman in the White House two years after that.
Since the start of the year, EMILY’s List has backed New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn in a competitive Democratic primary and endorsed Houston Mayor Annise Parker for reelection. On Friday, the group’s president, Stephanie Schriock, endorsed Los Angeles Comptroller Wendy Greuel for mayor in an event on the West Coast.
A clean sweep of those races would put women mayors in charge of three of the country’s four largest cities. (The outlier? Rahm Emanuel’s Chicago.)
There are likely more mayoral endorsements to come from EMILY’s List, which played a prominent role in the Democrats’ successful 2012 campaign to win female voters by a landslide margin. EMILY’s List strategists pointed to Minneapolis and Seattle as two other potential targets for the group’s involvement. The candidate field in both races is still taking shape.
Schriock said that she viewed the 2012 election outcome as “a mandate for women’s leadership across the country” – one that prompted EMILY’s List to seek out unconventional targets for advancing women in the federal off-season.