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ShePAC Boosts Five Women in GOP Senate Primaries

ShePAC Boosts Five Women in GOP Senate Primaries

By Scott Conroy - April 18, 2012


A relatively new Republican super PAC, which previously garnered attention through a punchy Web video highlighting offensive comments by comedian Bill Maher, has kicked off a fundraising push for five conservative women running for the U.S. Senate.

Helmed by Tea Party leaders Suzie Terrell and Teri Christoph, along with Tim Crawford, the treasurer for Sarah Palin's political action committee, ShePAC on Wednesday blasted out a new Web video seeking donations for the candidates: Heather Wilson (New Mexico), Deb Fischer (Nebraska), Linda McMahon (pictured; Connecticut), Linda Lingle (Hawaii) and Sarah Steelman (Missouri)

Each of the ShePAC-backed contenders is running in a contested Republican primary, and four are competing to replace a retiring senator.

The new video, which will be targeted later this week to social media platforms in the five states, notes that the challengers “have the power to stop the Obama-Reid agenda.”

“2012 won’t be a war on women,” the text in the ad says, “it will be a war by women.”

Though Palin has not taken part directly in the group’s activities, her footprint on ShePAC is plainly visible.

In addition to Crawford, several figures with ties to the former Alaska governor are working behind the scenes to bolster the organization’s presence, including longtime aide Pam Pryor and Becky Beach, who guided Palin through her visits to Iowa last summer.

In addition, ShePAC’s videos are produced by Passcode Creative, the company that handles SarahPAC’s Web videos.

“Many have seen firsthand the unfair treatment Sarah Palin and other conservative women has received from inside the party and much of the media and want to take a stand against it,” said one ShePAC adviser. “I think the double standard applied to conservative women was a great motivator for some key women to join the advisory board.”

As with Palin when she has offered endorsements, ShePAC appears particularly enthusiastic about getting behind underdogs.

While Wilson, Lingle and McMahon are favorites to win their party’s nomination, Fischer and Steelman face uphill climbs, according to polls.

ShePAC’s leaders plan to travel to Nebraska later this month in advance of Fischer’s May primary, in which she is running behind two better-known and better-financed candidates for the right to compete for the seat currently held by retiring Sen. Ben Nelson.

A ShePAC adviser said that Fischer is “the exact type of woman we are out to promote,” noting that the state legislator from Nebraska’s most rural district has performed well in local straw polls and that she needs some outside help to amplify her message.

As an up-and-coming group that is competing for resources in a sea of established Republican super PACs, ShePAC has raised “tens of thousands” of dollars through its last video, an adviser said. The average contribution was $60 from a donor pool that was 65 percent women.

Last month, ShePAC made its first endorsements, backing GOP challengers Mia Love and Martha McSally for U.S. House seats in Utah and Arizona, respectively. 

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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