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The endorsement of candidates is the core of our mission and an obligation the board takes seriously. Georgia’s WIN List is often one of the first organizations to endorse once qualifying closes. Because the endorsement means money from WIN List and the women who comprise our donor network, an endorsement is not awarded lightly. Often, other groups follow the WIN List lead in making their own endorsements because we are respected for our rigorous process.
Georgia’s WIN List does not endorse in every race, especially for special elections or races for seats where there are several strong women candidates all of whom are well qualified. We protect our currently endorsed elected women and do not encourage challengers. Only in the rarest of circumstances does WIN List become involved in a challenge to a male legislator with a record of protecting reproductive freedom. However, WIN List will endorse women running against sitting male (or female) legislators who have failed to protect choice. In 2016, a WIN List endorsed woman, Renitta Shannon, defeated a male incumbent who had “walked” on an important choice vote.
Further, WIN List does not endorse merely for the “sake” of endorsing a Democratic woman in districts where the historic Democratic Performance Index (DPI) precludes any chance for success. It is close to impossible for a Democrat to win in any district where the DPI is lower than 45 percent. Georgia’s gerrymandered district lines insure there are plenty of those districts! We keep up with new voter registration statistics and closely monitor when a district is open to shifting to Democratic control with the right woman candidate.
For contested races where we feel WIN List support can make a difference, the women candidates are asked to complete an application which includes a pledge of support for reproductive freedom. Candidates also submit a campaign and fundraising plan. These documents are reviewed by the candidate committee which makes a recommendation to the full board for which candidates should be interviewed. The candidate committee conducts interviews which include all board members who wish to participate. Following the interviews, the candidate committee makes a recommendation for endorsements and the board votes on both the endorsement and the level of financial support.