Washington – U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is leading a national effort to position more female Democratic candidates for victory in 2014.
Following the historic congressional gains of women in the 2012 election, EMILY’s List — an advocacy group for female candidates who support abortion rights — is pressing its members to embrace broader agendas.
“The idea … is to make the public case that women in office make a difference,” said Klobuchar, who is among a record 20 women serving in the U.S. Senate. Another 76 women were elected in the U.S. House, which is also an all-time high.
Heading into this year’s midterm elections, the group’s Impact Series aims to show the effect that the record number of women in Congress has had on policy, from cracking down on sexual assaults in the military to leading the push to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which deals with domestic and sexual abuse.
Chaired by Klobuchar and Democratic U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama, the Impact Series is the latest in a series of efforts by Democrats and Republicans to court female voters. As part of the project, EMILY’s List will host quarterly events in D.C. to highlight the work of women in Congress.
“When you look at her impressive record of getting things done for families across Minnesota, and across the country, it was only natural we ask Senator Klobuchar” to lead the effort, said EMILY’s List President Stephanie Schriock, a former campaign manager for U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.
Klobuchar will also hit the campaign trail this year, lending support to female colleagues across the country. She headlined a state Democratic Party dinner this month in North Carolina, where first-term Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan faces a tough re-election race.
“We need to strengthen our ranks, not just to talk about numbers, but to talk about what the women senators have done,” Klobuchar said.
Kline campaigns with Tea Party favorite
Republican U.S. Rep. John Kline hosted a campaign event this past week with Tea Party activist and former congressman Allen West.
Kline and West hosted a telephone town hall meeting on Tuesday with residents in Kline’s district, which covers the suburbs and exurbs south of the Twin Cities.
Scheduling the event with West, a favorite of GOP conservatives, may give Kline a boost ahead of his district’s April 5 nominating convention.
For the second consecutive election cycle, Kline faces a challenge from the right from David Gerson of South St. Paul. Kline easily defeated him in the 2012 primary, winning 85 percent of the vote.
Though Minnesota Tea Party leaders say Kline has no ties to the movement, partnering with West has done little to dissuade Democratic efforts to link Kline with the Tea Party.
Corey Mitchell • Twitter: @C_C_Mitchell