Officials in Columbus and Dayton Dayton are aiming to capitalize on backlash against a religious-objections law in neighboring Indiana that critics say could permit discrimination against gays and lesbians.
Emily’s List Active In Ohio Elections
Listen to the Story
The founder and president of the political action committee Emily’s List was in Columbus Friday. Ellen Malcolm heads one of the largest PACs in the U.S. Emily’s List is supporting Mary Jo Kilroy for Congress and Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House. But a Republican spokesman says that in Ohio an Emily’s List endorsement might do more harm than good
Emily’s List only supports Democratic women candidates who are pro-choice. The group was started in the basement of Ellen Malcolm’s home in 1985, at a time, she says, when most people did not take women candidates seriously.
“Emily stands for Early Money is Like Yeast, because we make the dough rise for our women,” Malcolm says. “And we thought that if we could raise early money for our women to get the women started we could help them be taken seriously by the political world.
Malcolm says there have been many successes since the group began. 13 more women have been elected to the U.S. Senate, 70 Democratic women to the House. They include Ohio’s Stephanie Tubbs Jones in the 11th House District and Betty Sutton in House district 13. Malcolm says more and more people realize that women bring unique perspectives to government.
“There are a lot of people that think government would work better if there were more women in the mix,” Malcolm says. “We would be a little more civil to each other; we’d bring people together a little better; we’d focus on issues that affect families like jobs and the economy and health care.”
This year Emily’s List is supporting Mary Jo Kilroy who’s running for the 15th Congressional district. She’ll likely face Republican Steve Stivers this fall. A spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party, John McClelland, says he believes that support from the PAC will hurt Kilroy’s chances of winning.
“The simple fact of the matter is, Emily’s List, for people who know much about them, know that they operate on the fringe of the radical left wing of the party,” McClellan says. “And when people of the 15th district find out that Mary Jo Kilroy isn’t just a Democrat but an extreme left-wing Democrat, that’s going to hurt her in the general election.”
Malcolm says Emily’s List signed up to support Hillary Clinton’s campaign a mere two hours after she’d announced her candidacy. In addition to heading the PAC, Malcolm is a co-chair of the Clinton campaign.
“People are making less money than when George Bush went into office. Health care cost’s are up, college tuition’s up 60 percent; and so we really need somebody who’s going to be able to get in there as the new president and knows how to create change.”
But Republican spokesman McClelland says he thinks a majority of Ohioans will side with Republican candidates over key issues in the election.
“When it comes to making the best decisions about how to handle your health care, Republicans believe that’s a decision that’s best left to individuals and their doctors. Democrats want to control it with a huge bureaucracy out of Washington D.C.”
“And when it comes, most importantly, to the security of our country, Republicans are focused on winning the war on terror. And the Democrats, and Mary Jo Kilroy and the rest of them, want to walk away from Iraq and walk away from the war on terror,” McCelland says.
Emily’s List also works to turnout women voters. Malcolm estimates their numbers are at historic highs — from 55 to 62 percent.
“I hope we’re going to see a big turnout for women here in Ohio on Tuesday,” Malcolm says. “If you’re worried about the economy, if you’re worried about health care, then go out and cast your vote, have your say in the change that is going to take place in this country. I’m confident when they do, they’re going to support Hillary Clinton but at the end of the day just go out and vote.”