Black women candidates, who face disproportionately higher obstacles to fundraising, have gotten a much-needed financial boost to help push them across the finish line ahead of their opponents in the 2018 midterm elections.
See Also: Blue Party: Say Hello To The Black Wave
MoveOn.org, the progressive social justice and political organization, announced Thursday that it has raised more than $1 million in small donations from its members to help elect six Black women candidates in the 2018 cycle. They hit the milestone on Wednesday night, and the pot swelled to $1,101,791 by Thursday afternoon.
The midterm elections are crucially important, and Black women bring an important voice to the political landscape, Karine Jean-Pierre, a MoveOn.org senior advisor and national spokesperson, told NewsOne.
“Demographics are changing. You can’t move forward unless you have Black women at the political table,” she emphasized. “It would be a farce to say we’re moving forward as a country if you don’t have Black women there.”
Raising campaign funds is arguably the biggest obstacle that hinders the success of Black women candidates. There’s already an overall gender gap, in which women running for Congress raise an average of $500,000 less than men. The challenges are even greater for Black women compared to white women.
A March 2018 report from Arena, a progressive group that trains and supports female candidates, underscored the challenges Black women candidates face in attracting funding. In 2016, Black and Latinx women incumbents raised only half as much as white women did and just two-thirds as much as white men.
“Money is incredibly important. You can’t have a campaign without money,” Jean-Pierre emphasized.
The money could help them reach more voters by purchasing TV or radio ads, printing brochures or hiring essential staff members.
MoveOn members have been incredibly receptive to supporting Black women candidates, Jean-Pierre said. The organization has built an email list over the past two decades that numbers in the millions. Their small-dollar member donations have accumulated to critical funding that continues to fuel campaigns.
Stacey Abrams, who is running to be Georgia’s first Black governor, received MoveOn’s endorsement in November 2017. The group endorsed 11 non-incumbent Black women for Congress, three statewide and 13 in local elections.
By Thursday afternoon, MoveOn raised $939,548 for Abrams. The other candidates who received funding included Linda Coleman ($48,004), Lauren Underwood ($47,366), Lucy McBath ($47,943), Ilhan Omar ($18,522) and Jahana Hayes ($406.00).
“It was the first time that we’ve endorsed so early in a gubernatorial elections because of the importance of her elections,” Jean-Pierre explained. “When we bundled for Stacey Abrams, I know it was helpful, especially going into the primaries.”