With 5th year in the bag Jennifer Moore says Emerge Kentucky is here to stay

11/12/2014 11:56 AM

Now in their fifth year Emerge Kentucky , the Democratic women’s group which teaches candidates to run for office, is “here to stay,” according to board chair Jennifer Moore.

Emerge ran 27 women on the ballot on Nov. 4, with candidates across the state filing for offices from Congress all the way to county clerk and school board. The group ran 18 first time candidates and stacked up 12 wins on election night, though they blanked on their crop of four House candidates.

Moore, a Louisville attorney and former Democratic Party chair, said this election cycle they saw their hard work pay off.

“We saw this year really the fruits of our labor over the last five years,” Moore said. “I started the program back in 2009 and the reason for that was simple we need to increase the number of women in office in Kentucky.”

Moore said the numbers were impressive given the Republican wave which swept across the state and country in federal races — though in Kentucky Democrats in the state House held on to their majority.

In the state House Emerge ran four women: Jacqueline Coleman in the 55th District, Audrey Haydon in the 50th District, Ashley Miller in the 32nd District and Gretchen Hunt in the 48th District.

The women challenged three sitting incumbents: Rep. Kim King, R-Harrodsburg, Rep. David Floyd, R-Bardstown, Rep. Rep. Bod DeWeese,R-Louisville, and ran in one open House seat race against former gubernatorial candidate Republican Phil Moffett.

“It didn’t happen this time,” Moore said. “We are extremely proud of the women who stepped up and ran — whether it was Congress all the way down to school board…just the number of women running this year was dramatically different than we’ve seen in the past.”

“Many people don’t win their first race…Abraham Lincoln, FDR, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush — didn’t win their first races. In Kentucky — Jack Conway, Adam Edelen — didn’t win their first races, so we haven’t seen the last of these women who ran for the state House.”

Moore said that it’s likely the candidates will be back for future campaigns.

“I mentioned Audrey Haydon, she lost by 1,000 votes in a race that people didn’t think she could win. So I think the next time she runs you’re going to see everybody jump on board, because they know she can defeat David Floyd in Nelson County,” she said.

The Emerge candidates were well funded and in the state House contests, Moore said, with all four women raising nearly six figures each for their campaigns, which she said speaks to the dedication of the candidates.

Hear what lessons Moore says Emerge and the candidates learned from this cycle at the 4:10 mark in the interview above.

Moore said Emerge is already accepting applications for their next cycle of candidate trainings and expects to turnout another crop of qualified candidates.


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