We wrote recently about how critical it is for powerful, multiracial women to seek public office (and how we can help them win). And this year, we couldn’t be more proud to endorse a slate of talented, passionate women at the forefront of this movement. Since we introduced them back in May, the women leaders on our slate have been working tirelessly to turn the tides in communities on the brink of political transformation.
We are also proud to announce the addition of Leticia Van de Putte, a longtime progressive voice and current candidate for Texas Lieutenant Governor, to our list of fierce women candidates to watch. Full 2014 Endorsed Candidate List.
With less than 35 days till Election Day, here is a look inside the campaigns of six women we want to see shaping progressive politics come 2015:
The newest addition to our slate, Leticia gained a national spotlight when she stood up during Wendy Davis’s historic filibuster to ask “At what point must a female senator raise her hand or her voice to be recognized over her male colleagues in the room?” Leticia’s voice is being heard now: she is running for Lieutenant Governor, a post that would make her the first Latina to hold statewide executive office in Texas. Leticia has served in the Texas State Senate for over two decades and is immensely popular in her San Antonio district, where she still finds time to work behind the counter of her family pharmacy. We are excited to endorse Leticia because of her legislative record of supporting school funding, healthcare access and women’s choice in Texas, and because Texas needs Latina leaders who can speak to the issues that matter for Tejanos and women, two of the groups most neglected in Texas politics. In the last fundraising cycle, Leticia outraised her opponent by $200,000, a sign that momentum may be gathering behind the candidate that CNN dubbed “the woman that could turn Texas purple.”
Currently Georgia House Minority Leader, Stacey’s New Georgia Project has been so successful in registering new voters that it has sent the Georgia GOP into a panic. After the group registered 85,000 voters, Republican Secretary of State Brian Kemp issued an aggressive subpoena for the voter forms, claiming evidence of fraud. Stacey stood by the New Georgia Project, and called out Kemp for his efforts to stall the voter registration effort. When the number of invalid forms was shown to amount to a fraction of a percent, even Kemp had to admit there was no evidence of fraud. Not one to be intimidated, Stacey is now publicly calling for Kemp to process the 51,000-plus voter registration forms that have been stagnating in his office for weeks. (Sign our petition) Stacey is a serious force for change in Georgia – she knows that Georgia’s future is in the hands of its African American, Latino and Asian voters, and she wants to make sure they use it. It’s no surprise Stacey made her debut at #11 on The Root 100 list of influential African Americans.
Wendy remains fearless in standing up for progressive issues in a red (for now) state. In her first debate against GOP gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott on September 19th, Wendy talked about the harsh consequences of cutting Medicare and restricting abortion access in Texas – both of which are supported by Abbott. Abbott mainly stuck with the “bash Obama” method. Earlier this month, Wendy spoke publicly about the devastation she felt after having two medically-necessary abortions. It was a revelation that left her open to ugly public attacks, but also cast her unwavering defense of women’s reproductive rights in a deeply personal light that has struck a chord with many Texas women. At the end of the day, Wendy knows that turning Texas from red to purple will depend on turning out new voters. Her campaign is unwavering in its grassroots get-out-the-vote campaign, making hundreds of thousands of door knocks and phone calls in recent months.
In her first Lieutenant Governor debate against Mark Hutchison, Lucy joked that while she has never been handed the keys to anything, she has “stolen them a few times.” It was a reminder that Lucy is not afraid to talk about the challenges in her past, including poverty and gang involvement, and that she has a deeply personal perspective on the issues that matter to Latinos in Nevada. Not to mention the national impact of Lucy’s run. If she wins election to the 2nd highest seat in Nevada, she might make Governor Brian Sandoval think twice about challenging Harry Reid in the Senate in 2016. Plus, it’s not hard to imagine a smart, fearless Latina leader like Lucy becoming a national star for the Democrats before long.
Apart from being one of the only chances for the Democrats to flip a Senate seat come November, a win for Michelle could be the first step to a major Democratic shift in the south – and the GOP knows it. Her opponent David Perdue recently released an ad accusing Michelle of “funding terrorists,” a claim that the Washington Post shot down as “utterly bogus” and “smarmy.” Michelle, who has served Georgia families as a nonprofit leader for decades, is committed to focusing the campaign on issues that matter. She has been busy making appearances across the state to talk equal pay for women, opportunity for veterans, and universal pre-K access in Georgia. Her campaign has gathered a number of high-profile supporters, with everyone from Michelle Obama and the Clintons to R&B singer Usher making appearances for Nunn in recent weeks.
Ohio Republicans seeking to cut back voting access have met their match in Nina Turner. Current Secretary of State Jon Husted has repeatedly tried to curb voting access by limiting the evening and weekend hours that are so critical to working people, students, and the “Souls to the Polls” Sunday voting movement – all groups that happen to lean Democratic. Nina, who is running to unseat Husted, has been at the forefront of the movement to protect voting rights and promote voter engagement in Ohio. To hear Nina is to love her – she is a passionate, no-nonsense speaker that has brought public attention to Husted’s partisan tactics and galvanized the voting rights movement in Ohio. If she wins, Nina would be the first Black woman in Ohio’s executive branch, and she would make sure that Ohio isn’t a playground for voter suppression when the 2016 election rolls around.