EMILY’s List chief lauds early primaries

At breakfast this morning with reporters in San Francisco’s Hotel Monaco, EMILY’s List president and founder Ellen Malcolm extolled the virtues of presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and suggested that earlier primaries would help the New York senator become the nation’s first woman president.

California, along with half-dozen other states, is likely to move the presidential primary to Feb. 5, 2008, creating a mega-Tuesday that could leave little question as to the names of the top potential nominees heading into the Democratic and Republican parties’ national conventions.

A successful candidate, Malcolm said, will need lots of money over a long period of time to compete, particularly in a huge state like California with expensive media markets.

“I believe Hillary Clinton has the foundation to run over the long haul,” said Malcolm, the founder of the 22-year-old organization. EMILY stands for “Early Money is Like Yeast,” referring to the fact that many candidates need seed money to get started. “The early primaries will make it more difficult for an underdog to be successful.”

The Washington, D.C.-based EMILY’s List endorsed Clinton the same day she declared her candidacy. Clinton is the first presidential candidate the organization has ever supported.

It’s a key endorsement from the nation’s largest political action committee. EMILY’s list raised $46 million for Democratic, pro-choice women candidates in the 2006 election cycle with an average donation of $100 a person.

Malcolm is in California, in part, to attend Clinton’s fund-raiser Friday in San Francisco.

When asked about Obama Barack, the Illinois senator that has become a Democratic Party rock star, Malcolm said she believed voters will go with experience. Clinton, she said, has spent far more time on the national stage and has the training to grapple with the complex issues of the Iraq War and domestic policy.

Lisa Vorderbrueggen