The days after the election of Donald Trump quickly became a call to action for women. This call to action turned into weeks and months of organizing, training, and preparation for the largest influx of women running for office in history. In the 2016 election cycle, EMILY’s List was in contact with 960 women interested in running for office – that number rose to 1,000 in just four weeks after the 2016 election, and has now surpassed 30,000 in the year since. Emerge America, a major organization that recruits and trains Democratic women to run for office, reported in March 2017 an 87% surge in candidate applications since the election. As one of the few woman-led research firms, Stanford Campaigns has always been a supporter of strong, passionate Democratic women, and we are proud to be working with the following amazing women for the 2017-2018 election cycle.
Liliana Bakhtiari gained national attention during her run for District 5 City Council in Atlanta in 2017 – she was featured in HuffPost, Teen Vogue, and NowThisHer among other media outlets. Bakhtiari, a Muslim daughter of Iranian immigrants who identifies as queer, grew up doing community service, social justice work, community organizing and activism, and even attended her first protest march when she was eight years old. After graduating from Georgia State University, she traveled to 22 different countries and worked with survivors of genocide and sex trafficking before returning home to Atlanta, where she resumed working with refugees and currently serves on the board of Lost-n-Found Youth, a nonprofit that works with homeless LGBTQ youths. District 5 was the closest race in Atlanta in 2017, and Bakhtiari lost to the 16-year incumbent by only 252 votes.
Kendra Horn is running for Oklahoma’s 5th Congressional District – a district that saw its last Democratic representative in the 1970s. Despite this, Horn outraised her incumbent Republican opponent in her first fundraising quarter since launching her campaign in early July. Horn is the Executive Director of Women Lead Oklahoma, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting empowerment and engagement of women in civic life, and previously served as Executive Director for Sally’s List, where she led an effort to encourage more women to run for and serve in elected office in Oklahoma. During a Sally’s List meeting, Horn expressed the need for “young women, old women, single women, mothers, women with young kids and women of color. We really need women of color to run,” adding the most important quality is to have women who care about the community.
Gina Ortiz Jones is running for Texas’ 23rd Congressional District – largely considered the most vulnerable Republican seat in Congress in 2018. Jones, an openly lesbian first-generation Filipino-American veteran, has said she was inspired to run for Congress after serving as a director in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative during the opening months of Donald Trump’s presidency: “These policies were directly threatening to the opportunities I had growing up…to me, it was quite clear that I needed to serve my country and my community in a different way.” Jones has been endorsed by Wendy Davis, Leticia Van De Putte, Khizr Khan, and groups such as EMILY’s List, Vote Vets, and Seth Moulton’s Serve America PAC, among others. In her statement supporting Jones, EMILY’s List president Stephanie Schriock, said, “Gina’s record is a stark contrast to Congressman Will Hurd, who has prioritized his party’s extreme agenda over the interests of the working families he was elected to serve. Whether it’s defending our country or expanding opportunities for hardworking families, Gina Ortiz Jones is ready to continue serving as a new voice in Congress.”
Aruna Miller, a civil engineer and immigrant from India, is running for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District in 2018 after serving as a Maryland delegate since 2011. As a delegate, Miller has established funding for rape crisis centers throughout Maryland, pushed for bills requiring electronic monitoring of domestic violence offenders, and was an architect of the effort to include at least $3 million in Maryland’s annual budget for sexual assault crisis programs. Maryland’s congressional delegation has been all male since the retirement of Barbara Mikulski, the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Maryland, and the departure of congresswoman Donna Edwards, but Miller is widely considered the best chance either party has to elect a woman to Congress this year.
Sarah Riggs Amico is running for lieutenant governor in Georgia in 2018. After graduating from Harvard’s business school, Amico worked at talent and literary agencies in New York and Hollywood before taking over as Executive Chairperson at Jack Cooper, one of the largest carhaul companies in North America. She is passionate about increasing access to affordable health care – after taking over Jack Cooper, the company paid for complete health care for all of their employees – and increasing apprenticeship and vocational education programs at high schools and colleges. For Amico, last year’s Women’s March in Atlanta ignited her interest in running for office: “It was something that really lifted me up and made me want to demand better from my government.”
Kim Schrier, a pediatrician for 16 years, is running for Washington’s 8th Congressional District in 2018. Despite being a newcomer to running for office, Schrier quickly stood out in a crowded 9-candidate Democratic primary – she raised close to $300k in her first two months of fundraising and won an endorsement from EMILY’s List. “As a pediatrician and a community leader, Kim Schrier has dedicated her career to improving people’s lives — and now she wants to continue that work in Congress. At a time when congressional Republicans continue to sabotage health care for millions of families, Kim’s perspective as a doctor and a patient with a pre-existing condition is needed in Washington now more than ever,” said Stephanie Schriock, president of EMILY’s List, in a statement. In U.S. Congress, there are currently 15 physicians that hold office – none of whom are women.
Julie Johnson is running for House District 115 in the Texas House of Representatives in 2018. Johnson is an attorney in Dallas County, where she lives with her wife, Dr. Susan Moster, and their two sons. As an experienced litigator, Johnson has championed equal and human rights – in the late ‘90s, she handled a Title IX case that set a precedent for equality in school sports and played a key role in paving the way for marriage equality as a member of the Human Rights Commission board. Johnson’s priorities for the state legislature are creating fair-minded policies for all Texans, having a strong public education system, and ensuring that the ability to earn a fair wage is available to everyone.
Celina Montoya is running for House District 121 in the Texas House of Representatives in 2018. She currently serves as the Vice President for Government and Community Outreach at her family’s business in San Antonio, Alamo Fireworks. Montoya has been a leader in the Texas Fireworks industry through negotiations with lobbyists, interest groups, and policy-makers while pushing for legislation that ensures the rights of small businesses and landowners. She regularly meets with the small towns and municipal agencies where Alamo Fireworks conducts business to understand their needs. Throughout her campaign, Montoya also stresses the importance of high quality public education – making sure public schools are fully funded and providing quality results.
Christina Hartman is running for Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District in 2018. Hartman currently works with nonprofits in places such as Afghanistan and South Sudan to strengthen the countries’ democracies through civic education, elections, and youth leadership development. Just last year, she traveled to Liberia to train more than 100 women candidates for public office. Hartman continues to focus on community development and advocates here at home for policies that will create good-paying jobs in her district. She has additionally worked with the Joyful Heart Foundation to pursue justice for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. Hartman also ran for this seat in 2016, where she raised more money and came closer to winning than any previous Democratic candidate in the district.