EMILY’s List Makes a Presumptuous Pick

They're backing Katherine Clark to replace Ed Markey.

EMILY’s List has just added Massachusetts state senator Katherine Clark of Melrose to its list of “priority” congressional candidates—which means the pro-choice fundraising powerhouse will start soliciting contributions for her campaign in the special election to succeed newly elected US Senator Ed Markey.

Yes, yes, I know, Ed Markey is a month away from finding out whether he will become US Senator, so there’s not really any special election yet.

But EMILY’s List has in recent years become increasingly impatient about sticking its nose into campaigns. After all, the acronym stands for Early Money Is Like Yeast, right?

Clark, like several other congressional wannabes—state senator Will Brownsberger, sheriff Peter Koutoujian, and state representative Carl Sciortino—decided to declare her interest and start raising money for the race well before Markey even won his primary. She is the only female candidate to do so. State senator Karen Spilka of Ashland has informed key people that she has decided to run, but she’s reluctant to go public presumptuously. Her deferential slow start may have cost her with EMILY’s List.

The group has been unafraid to take sides in woman-on-woman primary battles, usually basing their decision on perceived viability more than stricter adherence to abortion positions. (Note the write-up on Clark barely mentions that issue.)  In the 2007 special election to replace Marty Meehan, EMILY’s List endorsed Niki Tsongas right out of the gate against Eileen Donoghue, who struggled to raise money and narrowly lost the primary to Tsongas. (Donoghue is now a state senate colleague of Clark, Spilka, and Brownsberger.)