Take the Lead: July 2021

A recent report by the political watchdog group OpenSecrets highlights a critical disparity in political campaigns. Women of color who run for office often experience a fundraising gap, where they receive significantly less money from donors on average than white women and men of all races. It is yet another barrier that women of color face when running for elected office. The report, released in June, analyzes competitive Congressional primaries during the 2020 election. Some of their troubling findings include:

  • Black women are at a unique disadvantage (and white women at a unique advantage) when it comes to fundraising in competitive primaries. Black Democratic women receive significantly less money than other candidates from large individual donors, early donors, educators, and retirees — groups that constitute the Democratic donor base.
  • Large donors, on average, raised more than three times the funds for white female candidates ($527,000) than what they raised for Black female candidates ($161,000).
  • Democratic women donors raised more money for white women than any other demographic group. In primary contests where women ran as challengers, women gave on average $490k to white women and just $118k to women of color.

Lillian’s List acknowledges this racial disparity and is proactively working to remove barriers and elect more women of color. In 2020, over 40% of the new or competitive general election candidates supported by Lillian’s List PAC were women of color. And Lillian’s List Foundation is now in the process of designing an annual candidate training exclusively for women of color, based on the invaluable input of past and present women of color candidates/officeholders themselves.

To read the full report, click here.

Pia Nargundkar

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