EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock visited Minneapolis this weekend to meet with mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges after endorsing her campaign in August.
EMILY's List, based in Washington, D.C., is the country's largest organization devoted to helping women in politics. It has more than 2 million members nationwide.
Schriock, who managed U.S. Sen. Al Franken's campaign when he ran against former Sen. Norm Coleman, is regarded by many as a rising star in Democratic politics.
While EMILY's List typically focuses on races at the federal level, this year the organization has turned its attention to nine mayoral races across the country, Schriock said an interview on Monday. She noted that at the beginning of year, only nine of the country's 100 largest cities had women mayors. Sharon Sayles Belton was the first woman elected mayor of Minneapolis in 1993.
"It's such a good opportunity to show the power of women's executive leadership," she said.
Schriock said EMILY's List has decided to back Hodges for several reasons. She said she has a strong track record on the City Council, has a command of what it takes to govern the city and has a vision for Minneapolis that includes tackling the city's racial disparities.
"That's a really important discussion to have," Schriock said. "We don't hear that in every race."
Before the organization will endorse a candidate, Schriock said the campaign team is analyzed to make sure it has a solid structure, the candidate has "crossed the viability threshold" and the organization can see a path to victory.
EMILY's List has donated $500 to Hodges' campaign and will also reach out to local members to urge them to volunteer or make financial contributions, Schriock said.
In its 28 years, EMILY's List has helped elect 19 women to the U.S. Senate, 101 to the U.S. House, 10 to governships and hundreds to state and local offices.
Of the 35 candidates running for mayor in Minneapolis, only five are women. They include Jackie Cherryhomes and Stephanie Woodruff, who have been very active on the campaign trail, and more under-the-radar candidates Alicia Bennett and Jaymie Kelly.