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President Of EMILY's List On The PAC's Priorities For Election Day

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Here's one way of breaking down the last presidential election. The majority of voters were women, and the majority of women voted for President Obama. This year, Hillary Clinton's supporters want to widen that gender gap with pitches like this one.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Trump has promised to repeal Obamacare, an act that would deny millions of women and their families affordable health care.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: But here's the good news. Women can stop Trump. I mean, brass tacks - there's more of us.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: So go...

MONTAGNE: That's an ad paid for by EMILY'S List, a PAC focused on electing women who support abortion rights. It has raised more than $60 million this campaign season. Stephanie Schriock is the president of EMILY'S List. She joined us to talk about the group's spending on the presidential and congressional races this fall. Good morning.

STEPHANIE SCHRIOCK: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: How much of your strategy is actually changing minds versus getting women to turn out to vote?

SCHRIOCK: Well, when it comes to Hillary Clinton, it is really about mobilizing and energizing women voters to turn out to the polls. The contrast between Hillary Clinton, a champion for women and families versus Donald Trump who has alienated women across the country with his offensive and insulting rhetoric, could not be clearer. Our job is to make sure that every woman voter in this country knows the contrasts, understands the stakes. And we're hoping that they stay on the ballot and vote for good, strong Democratic women all the way down.

MONTAGNE: Well, let's talk more down ballot. What is a realistic goal for EMILY'S List when it comes to congressional elections or the Senate. You, for instance, helped convince then professor Elizabeth Warren to run for office, and she is now a very prominent senator. Which races are you spending the most on right now?

SCHRIOCK: Well, as we look at these Democratic women running for the Senate, we are very grateful for the strength that Tammy Duckworth is showing in Illinois. And we are more and more confident in her position in that race which allows us to focus on four critical races that would ensure - ensure - the Democratic majority in the Senate.

Those four races are Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, which is a must-hold Democratic seat. This is Harry Reid's open seat. Then we have three pick-up opportunities. And that includes Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania and our new rising star with the momentum is Deborah Ross in North Carolina, a race that even three months ago Democrats even in Washington, D.C., weren't so sure that would be a race. And now Deborah Ross is tied with Richard Burr to pick up that seat.

MONTAGNE: You know, getting back to a Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton. In the first debate, the issue of pro-choice, as you call it in your mission statement - in EMILY'S List mission statement, that was not even mentioned one time. Do you think this should be talked about in this election or does that actually not matter to you this time around?

SCHRIOCK: Well, for EMILY'S List, we could not be prouder of the leadership Hillary Clinton has already shown in advancing issues of reproductive health for women across the country. In fact, one of the biggest issues we're seeing in our Senate races are whether or not a Republican senator has voted against Planned Parenthood, and in fact the vast majority of them have. At the presidential level, everybody knows that Hillary Clinton is going to stand up for women's reproductive rights. And Donald Trump has made it clear that he is going to reverse everything he can possibly do including appoint justices who will tear down Roe v. Wade. So I think it's not as talked about because the contrast is so evident.

MONTAGNE: Stephanie Schriock is the president of EMILY'S List, the progressive political action committee. Thank you very much for joining us.

SCHRIOCK: Thank you for having me. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.