EMILY’s List, a political action committee that supports pro-choice women candidates, is putting its weight behind several women candidates running in traditionally conservative states in the midterm elections.
Michelle Nunn is campaigning to replace retiring Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R), but like many Democrats throughout the deep-red South, Nunn is facing a difficult path to electoral victory. EMILY’s List has thrown its support behind Nunn in hopes that she is elected the first-ever woman senator from the state, and the first Democrat elected statewide in Georgia since 2000.
EMILY’s List has spent $1 million to buy television ads in the Atlanta media market, according to ABC News. The group is using the air time to target Nunn’s Republican rival, David Perdue.
The ad targeting Perdue claims that when he was the CEO of Dollar General, the company discriminated against female employees by paying them less than their male counterparts.
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Mother Jones reported that federal investigators found that female store managers “were discriminated against,” and “generally were paid less than similarly situated male managers performing duties requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility.”
After a class-action lawsuit by women employees of the company, including more than 140 Georgia women, Dollar Tree’s parent company agreed to a $18.75 million settlement.
“David Perdue owes Georgians answers about his shady business dealings that put his own profits ahead working women,” EMILY’s List spokeswoman Marcy Stech told ABC News. “And he certainly needs to be straightforward with the women of Georgia who deserve to know if he still believes it’s OK to pay women less than men for the same job.”
EMILY’s List has already made more than $2.3 million in contributions to PAC’s and to candidates in house and senate campaigns, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.
Nunn has received $153,352 in contributions from the group.
The largest single beneficiary of contributions from the group is Kentucky Democrat Alison Grimes, who is challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader. Grimes has received $263,554 from EMILY’s List. However, that represents only about 2 percent of the $11.3 million that Grimes has raised. McConnell has $23.7 million and already spent $13.7 million during the campaign.
Grimes appeared to be a serious threat to McConnell earlier in the summer, even taking a slight lead in the polls in May. However, Grimes has steadily lost ground to McConnell and the latest poll shows her down by eight points.
Several of the top recipients of EMILY’s List campaign cash are candidates like Nunn and Grimes who are on the ballot in traditionally red states. Senate candidate Natalie Tennant in West Virginia and incumbent North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D) are also both top recipients.