A group focused on recruiting Democratic women to run for office is launching a campaign Friday called “Follow Hillary’s Lead” aimed at increasing by 20 percent the number of women candidates in 2016.
Emerge America provides training, connections and support for women candidates seeking local and state office. It is backed by many Hillary Clinton supporters — including major Democratic donors Susie Tompkins Buell and Eileen Donohue who also hosted fundraisers for the former Secretary of State in San Francisco this week.
“We have cracked the code,” said Andrea Steele, founder and president of Emerge America. “We know what it takes to get women to run for office.”
“This is the moment where we have the needed inspiration. We have a women at the top of the ticket. We’re telling women, ‘Imagine seeing your name on the same ballot as the first woman president.’”
Steele, who previously worked for the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and for Bill Clinton’s campaign, said that since Hillary Clinton’s official announcement last month, she is already seeing a lot of interest from women who want to run for office.
“I’m seeing a tremendous amount of enthusiasm,” she said. “This cannot be the year of just one women; 2016 has to be the year of many women.”
As part of the new campaign, Emerge America will collaborate with national organizations to offer targeted recruitment materials, free webinars and trainings featuring now-elected officials who were recruited by the program.
“Emerge America with Follow Hillary’s Lead is delivering on the critical first two steps that make Democratic women successful candidates: inspiration and invitation,” said Libby Schaaf, Mayor of Oakland, Calif., in a statement. Schaaf was recruited and trained by the group
“Emerge America understands that the path for women candidates always starts with the encouragement of someone they know and respect saying: you can do this. “