As a nation, there’s no doubt we’ve come a long way on racial equality—and that we still have a long way to go.
Rep. Barbara Lee reminded us of that today, when she announced her run for California’s open US Senate seat. If elected, she would be only the third Black woman to serve in the body’s 233-year history. Currently, there are no Black women in the Senate.
During her 50+ years in politics, Barbara has been a leader for women and progressive issues—authoring California’s Violence Against Women Act as a state legislator, advocating for abortion rights by speaking openly about the illegal abortion she received in the ’60s and, most famously, casting the lone vote in Congress against endless war in the Middle East.
Since California has a top-two primary system, if Barbara Lee and Katie Porter make it into the general election, we are guaranteed the state’s next senator will be a woman. And if that senator is Barbara Lee, the US Senate will finally have a Black woman.
And Barbara especially needs our help. We know from countless analyses of campaign finance data that Black women are at a marked disadvantage when it comes to political fundraising. In fact, our research partner, Electing Women Research, just finished analyzing 2022 campaign finance data and found that:
🔶 Black women non-incumbents raised 65% of the funds White women non-incumbents raised in similarly competitive general elections.
🔶 Large donors gave Black women candidates half the funds they gave to White women candidates in similarly competitive elections.
🔶 Black women non-incumbents were more likely to be reliant on small-dollar donations compared to White women non-incumbents.
This last point is especially relevant for WomenCount’s work. Small-dollar fundraising is where we, as crowdfunders, can help close these gaps.
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