Super PAC intended to support Democratic female gubernatorial candidates

The new super PAC, LeadHERship, could play a crucial role in the state’s upcoming race

City & State Staff Writer
Monday, September 30, 2013

Rhode Island-based Kate Coyne-McCoy, a long-time advocate for female participation in politics, said her newly-created super Political Action Committee called American LeadHERship is committed to supporting “progressive, pro-choice, Democratic women” who wish to run for governor across the country.

The PAC’s birth coincides with Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s ’75 P’14 P’17 announcement that he will not run for reelection in 2014. Chafee’s absence opens the door for the state’s female General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, who will likely face Mayor Angel Taveras in the Democratic primary next year.

If elected, Raimondo would be Rhode Island’s first female governor.

Though Raimondo has not officially announced an intent to run, analysts from the Providence Journal, the Rhode Island National Public Radio and WPRI have all predicted on multiple occasions that she will run. Raimondo has hosted several fundraisers over the past year, including one Sept. 26 called “Women Changing R.I.” geared toward rallying female supporters. At the event, Raimondo said she greatly admires the work of other Democratic women in government, specifically pointing to Texas state senator and likely gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.

Meanwhile, Taveras has gathered supporters of his own and hired a campaign consultant, the Journal reported. Taveras released a poll Sept. 18 that showed a substantial lead over Raimondo in a potential primary race. The Garin Hart Yang survey of 400 likely voters showed 49 percent favored Taveras, while only 30 percent said they preferred Raimondo. Raimondo and Taveras will decide whether they will run for governor by the end of the year, WPRI has reported. Several analysts expressed skepticism over the poll’s validity since the full results were not released.

When asked if she thought Raimondo would run for governor, Coyne-McCoy said she “sure hope(s) she does.”

Though the LeadHERship super PAC was created at a crucial time in Raimondo’s career, Coyne-McCoy said she does not believe the support from the PAC will impact her decision to run. “I think her decision making will be thorough and insightful,” Coyne-McCoy said, noting that Raimondo is the kind of woman LeadHERship would support.

Electing women to positions of power has always been and will continue to be important, Coyne-McCoy said. “Women bring a different perspective and a different skill set to office,” especially on issues of women’s rights, she added. Women’s input is “sorely needed.”

Rhode Island is not the only state suffering from a government dominated by men, Coyne-McCoy said, adding that she hopes to remedy “the deplorable representation in the leadership world and in government” all over the United States by advocating for female candidates.

Coyne-McCoy created the super PAC after working for EMILY’s list, a PAC with similar goals to LeadHERship that backed Raimondo’s campaign for Treasurer in 2010.

American LeadHERship is “another venue” and does not differ in any ideological way from EMILY’s list, Coyne-McCoy said. “I have tremendous and deep respect for EMILY’s list.”

“There’s plenty of work to go around,” Coyne-McCoy said.

According to the American LeadHERship website, women in government are “seen as equally or more capable than a male officeholder” and hold important positions in business and local government. “The country’s governors’ mansions have become a last line of defense,” reads the website, which also urges visitors to join in the effort to get “more women at the table.”

  • humbert

    “Progressive, pro-choice women”? Is this talking about a different Gina Raimondo? Yikes. If Raimondo is “the kind of woman LeadHERship would support”, LeadHERship might be kind of a shitty group.