New super PAC to boost women candidates

Group backing two Dems, but says it's not partisan

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Neither Kentucky nor Georgia has ever elected a woman to serve in the U.S. Senate, but a newly created super PAC based outside of Portland, Ore., hopes to play a role in changing that.

Alison Lundergan Grimes of Kentucky and Michelle Nunn of Georgia have been endorsed by the More Women in Congress Super PAC, which registered with the Federal Election Commission earlier this week.

Grimes is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., while Nunn is running for the seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Both women are Democrats.

Shannon Meade, the new super PAC’s president, told the Center for Public Integrity that both women would benefit from the national attention. She added that her group is not “solely focused” on Democrats.

“I’m not loyal to a party,” Meade said.

“Our cause is made clear in the name of our PAC,” she continued, noting that the Democratic Party has “historically been more open” to women politicians.

While touting its long-term plans to raise money and produce advertisements that will be run “straight down the throats of every boy’s club member in Washington,” the super PAC’s website is currently seeking modest $5 donations as a show of “solidarity” with Grimes and Nunn.

A self-described teacher-turned-stay-at-home mom, Meade said that she and her husband, who serves as the PAC’s “creative director,” were inspired by comedian Stephen Colbert — who launched his own super PAC ahead of the 2012 election

Thanks to Colbert, they learned that the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling presented an opportunity for “regular people” to “join together and have a voice,” Meade said.

"Why should only monsters be able to have super PACs," she added.

There are currently 20 women serving in the Senate — the highest number in the country’s history.

In addition to Kentucky and Georgia, two dozen other states have never elected a female U.S. Senator. Incidentally, the first woman to serve in the Senate was a Georgian — Rebecca Latimer Felton, who was appointed in 1922 and served for just 24 hours.

Several other organizations, affiliated with both Republicans and Democrats, currently seek to recruit female political candidates.

Earlier this summer, the Republican national party committees created a new effort called “Women and the Right Unite,” and EMILY’s List has backed female Democratic candidates for years.

Just last month, a former EMILY’s List official launched a new super PAC to help elect more liberal women governors, as the Center for Public Integrity previously reported.