She Should Run President/CEO Siobhan “Sam” Bennett Warns Country’s Biggest PACs and Party Committees Not to Throw Women Candidates Under the Bus

Posted by Naomi Rothwell on October 01, 2012 at 12:00 PM

October 1, 2012
CONTACT: Juan Garcia

(WASHINGTON, DC)—Today, She Should Run released new data rating the country’s twenty largest PACs as well as the Democratic and Republican national party committees (DCCC, DSCC, NRCC, and NRSC) on their support of women candidates.

“Like all women, I am extremely excited to see the record number of women running for office this year,” said Siobhan “Sam” Bennett, President/CEO of She Should Run. “I also share their concern. We simply cannot afford a repeat of 2010 when, in the critical final weeks of the election, many of the keys institutional players, including PACs and party committees, threw women candidates under the bus. As a result, the number of women in Congress actually decreased for the first time in over 30 years. That is unacceptable. Women make up 50% of the population and we deserve a Congress that is more representative. However, even if every woman who is running for the U.S. House or Senate in 2012 were to win her race, women would still make up less than 20% of the new Congress. In the face of such severe underrepresentation, it is critical that PACs, party committees, and individuals pull out all the stops to ensure they are supporting women all the way to the finish line.”

According to FEC data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics for the most recent filing period, the twenty largest PACs in the country have thus far spent over $33 million in direct contributions to candidates, over $6 million (or 18%) in support of women candidates. However, as women currently make up 20% of all federal candidates, it is clear that some of the biggest players in the 2012 election are drastically under-supporting women candidates. Of the twenty largest PACs, only five, all unions or trade associations, provide more than 20% of their contributions to women candidates:

• International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (30%)
• American Federation of State, County, & Municipal Employees (30%)
• American Association for Justice (30%)
• International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (28%)
• International Union of Operating Engineers (24%)

The remaining fifteen largest PACs all fail to meet the 20% benchmark, including the four largest  PACS in the country:

• Honeywell International (13%)
• National Beer Wholesalers Association (14%)
• AT&T Inc (13%)
• National Association of Realtors (18%)

“With such anemic support for women candidates from some of the largest PACs in the country, is it any wonder that female representation in Congress is at an alarmingly low 17%?” continued Bennett. “We understand that part of the problem is the shortage of women running for office, but that’s no excuse for these PACs to not support the women who are running. As PACs continue to play an increasingly important role in our elections, they have a responsibility to be part of the solution, not an additional barrier to women running for office.”

According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ data, financial contributions from party committees offer a similarly mixed bag for women candidates. Democratic and Republican women running for the U.S. House of Representatives receive substantial support from their respective party committees, despite making up only a small fraction of their parties’ candidate pool:

• Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
  o Women make only 28% of the DCCC’s candidates, but have received 41% of the party’s financial support, including both direct contributions and outside spending on behalf of the candidate.

• National Republican Congressional Committee
  o Women make up only 11% of the NRCC’s candidates, but have received 35% of the party’s financial support.

“We are encouraged to see both parties clearly supporting their women House candidates ahead of this critical election,” said Bennett. “This is a shot across the bow, however, that we are watching to make sure the parties do not abandon these women at a critical moment. As the election enters its final days, both parties will face tough choices on where to spend their money. It is critical that those choices reflect the Democratic and Republican parties’ commitment to increasing the number of women in office.”

The Senate, however, remains a dark spot for both Democrats and Republicans.

• Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee
  o Women make up 63% of the DSCC’s candidates, but have received only 43% of the party’s financial support.

• National Republican Senatorial Committee
  o Women make up 48% of the NRSC’s candidates, but have received only 27% of the party’s financial support.

“Given these numbers, it’s frankly a miracle we even have 17 women in the Senate,” said Bennett. “Despite all the rhetoric about women being the key to who will control the Senate in January, both parties are failing to put their money where their mouth is. Were the Senate party committees at least supporting women at a proportional rate, we could cite them as merely complacent. But to so drastically under-support the tragically few women running for U.S. Senate is nothing short of egregious.”

Please visit to view the complete findings.


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