EMILY's List Names Maine’s Emily Cain Executive Director

Former state legislator ran against GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin in 2014 and 2016

EMILY’s List has named two-time Maine congressional candidate Emily Cain its new executive director. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

EMILY’s List named two-time Democratic congressional candidate Emily Cain as its executive director Wednesday.

Cain ran against Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin in Maine’s 2nd District in 2014 and 2016, with the endorsement of the group, which backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights. She replaces Jess O’Connell, who is now the CEO of the Democratic National Committee. 

“Emily knows how to fight back,” the group’s president, Stephanie Schriock, said in a statement.

“Emily brings important outside-the-beltway insight to our work at a time when over 14,000 women from all 50 states are looking to EMILY’s List to run for office and raise their voices in our democracy. She is the perfect choice to help lead us in electing unprecedented numbers of pro-choice Democratic women up and down the ballot from coast to coast, from school board to Senate,” Schriock said. 

First elected to the state House in 2008 at age 24, Cain later served as the youngest House minority leader in state history. In 2012, she was elected to the Maine state Senate. 

Cain won the Democratic nomination for Maine’s 2nd District in 2014 after longtime Democratic Rep. Michael H. Michaud vacated the seat to run for governor. She lost to Poliquin by 5 points that year, and Democrats in Washington tried to recruit her to run again immediately after that loss. 

Cain lost a rematch against Poliquin last fall by nearly 10 points. President Donald Trump carried the 2nd District by more than 10 points, according to calculations by Daily Kos Elections. His message resonated in a heavily rural, working-class district that President Barack Obama had previously carried by comfortable margins.

Earlier this year, Cain joined the tech company HistoryIT as chief strategy officer.

“I’m excited to hit the ground running at EMILY’s List,” Cain said in a statement Wednesday. “We are empowering women from all backgrounds, particularly women of color, to be a part of making positive change in town halls and Statehouses, to the U.S. Congress and the White House.” 

Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.