Columns

EMILY Has Egg on Her Face

By: Nancy Smith | Posted: March 17, 2014 3:55 AM
Nan Rich, Stephanie Schriock, Alex Sink

Nan Rich, Stephanie Schriock, Alex Sink

State and national Democrats in leadership loved Alex Sink. Adored her. Fawned all over her. But none was quite as gushy as the folks at EMILY's List.

“Alex Sink has an outstanding record of public service and business leadership, and she’ll be ready to use her experience to fight for Florida in Congress from the day she takes office,” crowed Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List.

Only, Alex isn't going near Washington anytime soon unless it's on vacation. She might as well break the lease on the Pinellas condo she was renting. She no longer needs to establish residency. She lost the CD 13 congressional race to no-name David Jolly by 2 percentage points.

I Beg to Differ

That mess you see all over EMILY's face is egg.

And how much money she got specifically from the EMILY's List endorsement is a secret she still keeps, just as she did in 2009-10, when she was running for governor partially on a platform of more transparency in government.


EMILY's list is the national group of men and women who claim to be "committed to electing Democratic women and empowering women donors and voters in order to achieve progressive change."

That's except for when President Obama or other high-ranking Democrats tell them to back off -- exemplified by EMILY'S decision to lift not a finger for party loyalist and candidate for Florida governor Nan Rich.

Jessica Ehrlich

Jessica Ehrlich

True, EMILY's List did the same thing to St. Petersburg lawyer Jessica Ehrlich -- recommended her during a May-October courtship in 2013, then dropped her like a used-up handkerchief as soon as GOP Congressman Bill Young died and Schriock and friends decided to go with Democratic National Committee darling, Alex Sink. Ehrlich's photo and promo disappeared from EMILY's website overnight.

It always struck me as entirely sexist that EMILY's List would decide two women shouldn't run for the same office. Doesn't that smack of tokenism to you? Why in politics is there an automatic, unspoken assumption that only one woman can run at a time? If Ehrlich and Sink both hold the same progressive principles, why not list both of them and let the chips fall where they may? I don't remember anybody in the party hierarchy in 2004 telling Howard Dean he had to pull out of the Democratic presidential primary because John Kerry was The Man.

EMILY's List clearly wanted Ehrlich out.

Nan Rich, though -- now here is a different kettle of fish. She had nobody waiting in the wings to challenge her in a Democratic gubernatorial primary. For the best part of two years, she ran alone. She had no baggage. She had never lost a race and during her years in Tallahassee (2004 to 2012) always had been recommended by EMILY's List. What reason could there be to ignore Nan, whose Democratic bona fides are beyond repute. In fact, against Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat former Gov. Charlie Crist, they're stronger than ever.

EMILY & Co. never gave Nan a tinkle, never kept her in the loop, never told her why they wouldn't support her. This is a group, remember, that claims it only exists to help promote women candidates to higher office.

All you hear is, well, nobody knows who Nan Rich is. Of course nobody knows who she is. Everything she did on her campaign from the very beginning was no thanks to the party, no thanks to the better known Democratic "names" who might have supported her, and certainly no thanks to EMILY's List, which pretended the three-term state senator didn't exist. In the early days, significant fundraising in the Rich camp was a cross between a dream and a joke.

But what I'm starting to see is a rumbling among some Democrats who find Alex Sink's demise at the polls last Tuesday a wake-up call -- that the party faithful wants something better. Three Democratic candidates for governor in a row came from the Tampa region and all three were defeated. Charlie Crist would make No. 4. This doesn't bode well. Nan is from Democrat-rich South Florida.

Rich deserves at least a hearing before all the people of Florida -- a debate with Charlie, for starters. She addressed the Broward County Democratic Party's sellout dinner Saturday night, making it clear in her speech that she is the same kind of progressive Democrat that Reubin Askew was, and that Democrats need somebody in the governor's office with those values.

It would have been a chance for the party faithful in Broward to do a Crist-Rich side-by-side comparison, but Charlie never showed up.

Earlier in the day National NOW Inc. endorsed Rich, and Terry O'Neill, its president, promised Rich she would be in Florida often during the next several months to campaign on her behalf.

“I am not running because I’m a woman,” she told me, “and I will surely lose if I think that’s why people should support me. I am running on my integrity and courage to do the right thing for Florida."

By the way, Hillary Clinton apparently doesn't walk in lockstep with EMILY's List. In the last few months, the former first lady visited Florida twice and both times paid zero attention to Alex Sink, Didn't campaign with her, didn't even meet with her. 

Not having the support of EMILY's List frees up a woman to run her own way. Nan Rich has already been defiant by insisting she won't get out of the race. From what I've observed, EMILY is having an identity crisis. Rich can stick with the women who are tweeting on her behalf, interviewing her on radio, writing her up, and the fine crew of volunteers spreading her message -- she doesn't need EMILY.. 



Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at 228-282-2423.  


Comments (11)

Esthr T. Blynn
2:11PM MAR 24TH 2014
I agree that the omissions do not speak well for the List picking when two women are running with good credentials who both embody the principles and positions of Emily's Lists according to its posts and requests for donations.

The Nan Rich omission is even more perplexing and troubling.
Tyler Barrett
5:11PM MAR 23RD 2014
Nan Rich will have my vote!!
StPete
12:05AM MAR 19TH 2014
Don't blame Sink for the loss in Dist 13. Dems had a phenomenal 45% turnout for that special election. Also Sink beat Jolly in mail-in ballots -which the GOP is supposed to own- and Dems we thousands ahead in early voting. And the Tampa Bay Times endorsed her. The Policeendorsed her. She had it all, and with a 3 point advantage going into election day. Yet somehow the GOP found 6,000 votes on the last day, March 11. Personally I don't buy it, but I know the newsers and DOJ aren't going to do anything, so that's that.
As for Sink's previous race, please remember the Governor's election was lost in the SE: Palm Beach and Broward counties where the turnout was some 46%. Not so shabby, but much less than other Dem strongholds. Whose fault was that?
Kathleen Jaskolski
12:36AM MAR 18TH 2014
This is why many of us have stopped supporting Emily's List and have gone directly to the candidates campaigns (who Emily's List ignores), Candidates like Nan Rich and Corry Westbrook in the FL-8th congressional district. Emily's List won't lift a finger to the amazement of all of my strong smart Democratic Women Friends.
Fran k
10:05AM MAR 17TH 2014
When will the Democrat loving blacks come to realize that abortions cost them the most. 60% of recorded abortions are with black women.

I think that anyone that votes democrat are anti-american. How can anyone actually support a political party that openly supports killing babies via abortion, increased taxation, massive restriction on just about everything you do (loss of liberty) and on and on and on. You get the picture. The Democratic Party has become something ugly and those that follow it, are well, either uninformed, or just plain stupid.
Frank
10:43AM MAR 17TH 2014
This is why this site is so great . . . . where else can you have such an intelligent mature statement that casting a vote in an American election is somehow "anti-American" . . . . .

Pathetic . . . . . .
Ellen
11:19PM MAR 17TH 2014
Frank: I will pass this on to my husband who served in VietNam & Operation Desert Storm. He is a Democrat whom you call anti- American. And to think he risked his life for a person like you.
Frank
10:03AM MAR 18TH 2014
So you say . . . . then why not post your husband's FULL comments here, and then everyone can decide for themselves whether his statement (and the context) was anti-American (if that's even what I said) . . . we can have that debate . . . . . . rather than blindly accuse, especially when I have so many fanclub look-alike want-to-bees using similar names (like Fran k above). . . . . . . . . . my sincere hope, however, is that you're not REALLY supportive of Fran k's clearly partisan, demonizing statement here . . . . .
RepublicanConscience
6:51AM MAR 17TH 2014
First of all, the people are getting it on abortion. It is not birth control but the legal execution of a human without a trial. Emiliy's List is circling the drain along with a truck load of Democrats who gave us Obamacare.

"Love it when a plan comes together." God does answer prayers.
LDouglas
6:57AM MAR 19TH 2014
Yet Obamacare does more to promote life than a law against abortion would. Go figure.

And you gotta know nobody has a right to life if they don't have a right to healthcare.
Frank
10:51AM MAR 17TH 2014
Gee, aren't you the same one, Joseph T., who called Obama's plan that of a "Muslim Terrorist", while also calling out the GOP as "Cowards" who "stain their shorts every time the wind blows against them" . . . . . .

Yes, we'll all listen to such a "thoughtful" one . . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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