Shenna Bellows makes the (EMILY’s) list

Though spring weather continues to be a tease, the green shoots of money are springing up for Shenna Bellows. The Democratic challenger to Sen. Susan Collins and former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine just made the cut to receive support from EMILY’s List, a political fundraising powerhouse that supports pro-choice female Democratic candidates.

Just a few weeks ago, I wrote a post about EMILY’s List supporting Emily Cain, a Democrat running in the primary to replace out-going Rep. Mike Michaud in the Second Congressional District, but not Bellows.

That changed Wednesday morning, when the group that raised more than $2.5 million in March and a total of nearly $25 million so far this election cycle, according to The Associated Press, sent out a press release touting Bellows’ candidacy.

“During her tenure, the Maine ACLU was a nationwide leader in bipartisan work to strengthen privacy and civil rights laws,” said the EMILY’s List statement. “Bellows has been an integral part of the fight for marriage equality in Maine, and is a strong advocate of reproductive rights.”

Team Bellows is rightly amped, touting the endorsement soon after its announcement.

“Emily’s List has produced amazing results, helping to elect Democratic women at every level of government, and we look forward to partnering with them in 2014,” Bellows said in a release. “The Republican attacks on women and reproductive freedom demonstrate how vitally important it is that we have strong leadership for women in Washington. I will always be a fighter for civil rights and reproductive freedom.”

While the listing may not make a bit of difference for Bellows in the polls, it shows she’s met a certain credibility threshold with the political class in D.C. And the money can make all the difference if Bellows finds some issues that resonant enough with voters to gain traction against the formidable and well-liked Collins.

As The Washington Post notes, EMILY’s List backed candidates, such as Alison Lundergan Grimes who is taking on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in Kentucky, and Michelle Nunn, a Georgia Democrat hoping to replace retiring Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss, have been able to hold their own fundraising, in part thanks to the boost from the group.

“EMILY’s List’s success lies in aligning itself with capable fundraisers. But the organization has made a mark, too,” reports the Post. “Bundled donations and PAC checks from the group to its endorsed candidates total $5.5 million so far this election cycle.”

Rebekah Metzler

About Rebekah Metzler

Rebekah Metzler is a political writer with U.S. News and World Report, who hails from the state of Maine where she covered state politics for the Lewiston Sun Journal and MaineToday Media. She spent much of 2012 covering the presidential campaign and particularly enjoyed her time on the road in states like Colorado, Florida, Ohio, Ohio and Ohio. Metzler earned her master’s degree in journalism from Boston University and is a Bowdoin College grad.