Emily’s List, the powerful financier of feminist women in politics, on Thursday endorsed Democratic U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz for governor of Pennsylvania.
The nod from the national group, which has 2 million members and backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, should boost Schwartz’s fundraising. If she were to win the 2014 nomination and then defeat Gov. Corbett (R), Schwartz would be the first woman elected governor of the state.
“Allyson Schwartz has an incredible track record of fighting for the women and families of Pennsylvania. Now it’s time for her to take that experience and dedication all the way to the governor’s mansion, where she will help get Pennsylvanians back to work, protect access to healthcare, and fight for seniors and veterans,” said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY’s List. “Governor Corbett’s devastating cuts to education and his fiscal irresponsibility have left Pennsylvania ranked 49th in job growth. The people of Pennsylvania deserve better.”
The prime directive of Emily’s List is to help more women succeed in politics, but Schwartz is not the only woman in the Democratic governor’s race. Former Environmental Protection Secretary Kate McGinty, who served in the Rendell administration and earlier in the Clinton White House, is also a candidate. McGinty also supports abortion rights, saying she agrees with former President Bill Clinton’s famous statement that the procedure should be “safe, legal and rare.”
But Schwartz, a five-term representative from Montgomery County, has a special relationship with Emily’s List, which has backed her for more than a decade. In March, the group circulated the top-lines of a poll it had commissioned showing Schwartz as the strongest Democrat in the field against Corbett.
The group NARAL Pro-Choice America gives Schwartz a 100 percent rating for her votes in the current session of Congress. Before she entered politics, Schwartz ran a Philadelphia women’s health center where abortions were performed.
In the 2011-12 election cycle, Emily’s List raised a record $52 million. Among its successes last fall: the election of the only pro-choice Democratic woman governor in the nation, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire; 19 new women in the House; the reelection of six women Senate incumbents and the election of three new female senators – each of whom is a “first” for her state.