Sep 29, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Courting "Mama"

Illustration of the Democratic donkey logo with two baby donkeys.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

A group dedicated to "increasing the political power of Democratic moms" is bringing together celebrities and lawmakers to mobilize voters across battleground states between now and November.

Driving the news: Vote Mama PAC is starting a new advocacy partner group called Vote Mama Lobby to help boost the more than 150 candidates they've endorsed across 31 states in contests ranging from the U.S. Senate to school boards, organizers tell Axios. They've set a goal of engaging at least 100,000 mom voters.

  • Actress and author Busy Philipps will chair the effort's Creative Council and host live virtual interviews with group-backed candidates, like Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.

Why it matters: The group sees centrist and left-of-center mothers united around desires to protect schoolchildren against gun violence, make classrooms and sports programs safe spaces for LGBTQ kids and preserve their daughters' future reproductive rights.

Between the lines: The PAC was formed in 2019. But this year, the Supreme Court's Roe reversal gave Democrats a new issue — abortion rights — to champion on the trail. That's led to a surge in women voter registration in several states.

  • Republican governors sending migrant children to Martha's Vineyard and other blue havens to make a political point also has enraged some of these mothers, organizers say.

How it works: Vote Mama Lobby's app and platform connect mom candidates, voters and policy experts — and allow people to donate, door-knock, phone-bank or otherwise volunteer.

What they're saying: "Too many politicians are not afraid of moms as a voting bloc and they should be," said Vote Mama founder and CEO Liuba Grechen Shirley.

  • “Moms are fed up and we are energized.  With the right tools and the right network, we can change this, and we will. Vote Mama Lobby is going to work with moms throughout our country to build our political power,” Grechen Shirley added.
  • Philipps — a mother of two who's been outspoken on abortion and was arrested this summer while protesting outside of the Supreme Court after the Dobbs decision — said that moms "feel left out of the political side of things." She told Axios that she'll focus on races in her home state of Arizona, among others.
  • "We’re in some sort of tipping point in our culture and really in our world," Philipps told Axios. "The truth is, it’s the moment when the doors have been opened and we all have to lean in as hard as we can and continue to break it down."

The other side: A conservative group called "Moms for Liberty" emerged during COVID school closures as an organization for moms against these policies and others to get involved as voters or run for office themselves.

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