A progressive group that has pushed for the election of Democratic women is launching a new effort to aid nine candidates for the state Senate this year. 


What You Need To Know

  • Eleanor's Legacy is a progressive group that works to elect more Democratic women to office.

  • The group plans to push for the election of nine Democratic women candidates this fall running in downstate and upstate races.

  • The effort will conform to social distancing requirements and focus on text messaging and phone banking as well as early voting and absentee balloting.

  • Women compose only 30 percent of the 63-member state Senate.


Eleanor's Legacy this week is launching that effort on behalf of Democrats Laura Ahearn, Christine Pellegrino, Karen Smythe, Kimberly Davis, Michelle Hinchey, Thearse McCalmon, Samra Brouk, Leslie Danks Burke and Jacqui Berger.

The candidates are running to flip Republican-held seats from Long Island to upstate seats in the Hudson Valley and western New York. 

“Since we launched the Baker Project in 2018, we have seen women lead the state forward to pass vital legislation like the Reproductive Health Act and the Women’s Equality Act,” said Eleanor’s Legacy President Brette McSweeney. “2020 has demonstrated that when women lead, everyone wins. With the Baker Project 2020, Eleanor’s Legacy will invest in nine Democratic women running in flippable red-to-blue Senate seats, including four open seats.”

That effort will be taking a different form than in traditional election years amid the coronavirus pandemic, where direct voter contact is difficult. Eleanor's Legacy plans to use texting, phone banking and social media to get around that and speak to voters. 

At the same time, the group will be focusing on early voting and absentee balloting. Both are expected to increase this year to limit the number of people at the polls on Election Day in November. 

Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is the first woman to lead the state Senate, but women are still underrepresented in the chamber and the Legislature overall. Women compose 30 percent of the 63-seat state Senate and 32 percent of the 150-member Assembly. 

"Eleanor's Legacy played a crucial role in the 2018 elections and helped elect a historically large freshman class of women senators. The Baker Project 2020 will help the Democratic Majority grow and welcome more strong women into the Senate Chamber," Stewart-Cousins said.

"Electing more women will ensure our state keeps moving forward, and I thank Eleanor’s Legacy for endorsing these great candidates and stepping up to help them win in November.”