EMILY’s List on Friday endorsed Democratic nominee Kathy Hochul in the looming special election in Western New York.
The organization, which supports female Democratic candidates and describes itself as the nation’s largest resource for women in politics, is among the first major outside organization’s to weigh in on Hochul’s behalf. Even the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has been slow to devote resources to Hochul, largely because the race is viewed as a long shot because of the region’s strong conservative leaning.
But EMILY’s List investigated and believes that the dynamic of the race — particularly the presence of a third-party candidate who may split the Republican vote — offers Hochul a real opportunity. The special election to replace former Rep. Chris Lee (R) is set for May 24.
“In a special election where millionaire opponents could split the vote, Kathy’s strong candidacy gives Democrats an excellent opportunity to take back a GOP-held seat,” the organization’s president, Stephanie Schriock, said in a statement announcing the endorsement. “A tireless public servant, Kathy always stands up for what she believes in and we are proud to put the support of the EMILY’s List community behind her.”
It’s unclear how much the endorsement will affect the contest in New York’s 26th district, where Republican nominee Jane Corwin is widely considered the frontrunner.
The group’s political action committee will likely make a financial contribution to the Hochul campaign, but its real power comes in bundling smaller donations from its national network of supporters. EMILY’s List raised more than $38.5 million last cycle.
Hochul will need the financial help to compete. According to her first-quarter fundraising report filed last week, Hochul raised $357,000 for her campaign through the end of March. She had $306,000 in cash on hand as of March 31. Corwin, meanwhile, raised $1.1 million, including a $1 million personal loan to her campaign. She ended the month with $512,000 in the bank.
Free-spending millionaire Jack Davis, who is running on the Tea Party ballot line, loaned his campaign $1.59 million, which accounted for all of his receipts in the first quarter. He spent most of that and showed $125,000 in the bank at the end of last month.