Women Walked the Talk on Tuesday

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From left: Danica Roem, who won a seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates, Stephanie Schriock of Emily’s List and Hala Ayala, who also won a seat, at a Democratic Party campaign office on Oct. 29.

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Al Drago for The New York Times

Back in January, when millions of fired-up women in pink pussy hats marched in Washington, Los Angeles, Chicago and scores of other places to protest the election of President Trump, Democrats wondered whether this could be the start of a movement, while Republicans hoped it was little more than a one-off explosion of rage.

On Tuesday came an answer. Across the country, from City Council to lieutenant governors’ races, female Democratic candidates notched impressive election victories.

“Everywhere I went, women who were activated by the loss last year, activated by the march in January, were out there knocking on doors. They got excited about these candidates, who were their neighbors,” says Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List, a political action committee that recruits, supports and funds women who support abortion rights.

During the 2015 and 2016 cycles, about 920 women approached Emily’s List for help. It was the biggest surge of interest in the organization’s three decades, and Ms. Schriock and her staff called it the “Hillary Bump.” Hillary Clinton’s loss left every Democratic organization, not least Emily’s List, reeling and exhausted. Then, in the first month after the election, about a thousand women called and emailed, seeking advice or money for a stab at elective office. A year on, about 20,000 women have contacted the group, eyeing races years into the future. “First-time candidates are the vast, vast majority,” Ms. Schriock says. “This is the next decade of women coming up.”

Emily’s List endorsed 55 candidates nationwide for Tuesday’s races, and 33 of them won. So far, 13 of its 16 endorsed candidates for the Virginia House of Delegates have won (a couple of them may face runoffs.)

That so many women landed on ballots this year was remarkable, but their skills and organizing talent, not their gender, proved most persuasive. Most who won had strong roots in the jurisdictions they now represent. Careers in medicine, education, law, community organizing and other fields equipped them with ideas for tackling issues voters…

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