WASHINGTON, D.C. — A new political action committee to support Republican women candidates – launched by U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-Schuylverville – has already raised more than $250,000, Stefanik said on Thursday.
The launch of the new House GOP women’s PAC, Engage, Empower, Elevate PAC, was live-streamed Thursday on C-SPAN3.
The goal of the launch event at the Samsung Solutions Center was to raise $100,000 to support female candidates in the 2020 election cycle, and “we shattered our goal,” said Stefanik, who has represented the North Country 21st Congressional District since 2015.
Having lost control of the House for the first time in eight years in the 2018 elections, Republicans like Stefanik are looking for ways to regain control in 2020 – and that could include recruiting more women candidates.
The event featured House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-California; House Republican Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana; Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, and National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Tom Emmer, R-Minnesota, along with panels of election and campaign professionals. Stefanik appeared on stage with the House minority leaders, acting as moderator, and served as master of ceremonies through the afternoon event.
“If you want a representative government and reflect America, you need more women in Congress, especially Republican women,” McCarthy said.
Stefanik has become outspoken on the issue since Republican women lost 10 seats in the House of Representatives in November, leaving only 13 GOP women in the House, even as Democratic women won in historic numbers.
“Only 3 percent of House members are Republican women. We can and we must do better,” Stefanik said.
Citing the importance of the early support she received in her first run for Congress in 2014, at the age of 30, Stefanik said the PAC will donate to women candidates early in their campaigns, when they typically need money the most.
“It will be pre-primary, early dollars,” Stefanik said. “We will also work to raise the profile of these women candidates; that is something that is often lacking.”
The purpose of getting involved pre-primary, she said, is to make sure the strongest female candidates emerge with the GOP nominations for House seats. Stefanik, who went on to become the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, had to win a primary to secure the Republican nomination.
A political action committee is a mechanism to raise money to help finance candidates’ campaigns.