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Emerge America Invests in Growing the Movement of Women Running for Office

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 2, 2018) – The historic surge in Democratic women candidates running during the 2018 election cycle is the result of more than a decade’s worth of work to recruit and train women throughout the country. Starting in California in 2002, Emerge America has steadily grown its recruiting and training model to fill the pipeline of leaders in local, state and federal office.

“Change starts at the school board, city council and state house,” said Andrea Dew Steele, President and Founder of Emerge America. “Without a strong, diverse group of women holding these offices, we can’t become Mayors, Senators and Presidents.”

When now Sen. Kamala Harris decided to enter politics as a candidate for district attorney in 2002, she called Steele to help her get started. With Steele’s help she was elected, setting off a trailblazing career that has led to the United States Senate where she is the only Black woman currently serving. Sen. Harris’ story is one that Emerge is working to recreate nationwide; starting with victories in local office and building a support network to higher office.

But while women candidates are setting records across the country, there is more work that needs to be done to sustain and build on any gains, particularly for statewide office. Data from the Center for American Women in Politics at Rutgers University shows that women candidates are concentrated in governor, auditor and insurance commissioner roles.

“Our strategy for getting more women at the table is to expand the roster of offices that we are training candidates for to include positions like District Attorney and Attorney General,” said Steele. “While we should be encouraged by our gains, our work is not done. The next generation of women leaders needs to be cultivated and supported, so that we live in a country where our elected officials reflect our communities.”

On Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 9 a.m. ET, Emerge America will hold a press call to talk about what trends came out of the 2018 election, including the number of first-time candidates and state legislature seats that were flipped in the election. Details to follow.

With more than 560 women on the Nov. 6 ballot, more than half of the 2018 Emerge candidates are running for Congress, statewide office or state legislatures. More than 60 percent of the Emerge alums on the November ballot are first-time candidates. So far this year, Emerge America has had a primary win-rate of 72 percent and a general election win-rate of 80 percent. Over 500 alumnae are currently serving in elected or appointed office. Emerge currently has affiliates in 25 states, with a presence in 32 states and has trained over 4,000 women to run for office.

For information on Emerge America and to see the list of candidates who will be on the ballot on election day, please visit our website here.



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