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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Annie's What?

Annie’s List is a political action committee that recruits, trains and supports Democratic women candidates throughout Texas who are committed to fighting for the health, safety and financial security of women and their families. We were named in honor of Annie Webb Blanton, the first woman elected to statewide office in 1918.

Who We Are

In 2002, due to crafty Republican redistricting targeting Anglo-American Democratic women, the Texas House lost five Democratic women and our numbers remained stagnant in the Texas Senate. Today, only 20 out of 181 Texas legislators are Democratic women. In fact, in the history of Texas no more than 100 women have ever served, compared to approximately 6,000 men.

Annie’s List was started in 2003 to combat this alarming trend. With just two election cycles under our belt, Annie’s List has already seen major successes. We have helped elect the Houston City Controller (who handles the City’s $2.6 billion budget), protected two incumbent State Representatives, and helped eight Democratic women win seats in the Texas House of Representatives since 2003.

Why It Matters

Research shows a direct correlation between the number of women in state legislatures and the passage of policies that help women and children. For example, a recent study shows:

  • State legislatures with high percentages of women pass more bills relating to the welfare of women and children
  • Nationally, women are more than twice as likely as men to succeed in passing bills that prioritize women, children and families
  • With more elected women officials, men are much more likely to perceive the legitimacy of women’s priorities
  • Generally speaking, women elected to office bring a different style of legislating that can affect the political culture of a legislative body and transform, positively, the way the public interacts with that body
  • Women are often more responsive and inclusive in reaction to citizens

Despite these positive outcomes, women are less likely to run for political office. Studies show that women are twice as likely as men to rate themselves as “not as qualified” to run. Furthermore, women are less likely than men to receive encouragement to run for office from party leaders, elected officials and political activists. The vast majority of women who have run for office have done so at the request of someone else.

What We Do

We understand the extra obstacles women face in running for office and use our expertise and resources to deal with it head on. We strongly believe that when women win, families in Texas win. As the number of women who have been elected to office has increased, so has the spotlight on issues that affect women and children — education, childcare, domestic violence, health care, pay equity, family leave, early childhood development, sexual violence and harassment.

Mapping Out Cycles in Advance
In order to maximize the number of victories in an election cycle, we have learned that it is important to map out opportunities years in advance. Texas is bubbling with demographic shifts and activities, and you never know when a local issue is going to reach a boiling point or an embattled incumbent will resign. In short, we make it our business to know when the changing political landscape creates an opportunity to elect a progressive Democratic woman.

Recruiting Women
We do not sit around and wait for great women candidates to just appear! Within our targeted districts, we build relationships on the ground and recruit women candidates willing to do what it takes to win a tough campaign.

Training Candidates
Running a modern and professional campaign requires a specialized skill set. We conduct dozens of trainings per year with potential candidates and campaign staffs, as well as work one-on-one with our endorsed candidates to write fundraising and communications plans and develop voter contact strategies. Our campaign trainings ensure that our women candidates have the skills to do what it takes to win and a pool of campaign staffers that can guide them to that win on Election Day. This summer, we held our first Incumbent Protection Training for our incumbents who are facing reelection in 2008.

Empowering the Next Generation
In addition to training our candidates, we work hard to train young people interested in the campaign process. The Annie’s List Campaign School program recruits recent college graduates for an intensive and comprehensive nine-day training. In July of 2006, we sent five young adults to a nationally-run training course before placing them as full-time staffers on the campaigns of our endorsed campaigns for the final three months of the election. We are currently gearing up to recruit a new group of campaign school students next spring for the 2008 election cycle.

Engaging and Activating Women Voters
The phrase “when women vote, women win” says it all. Research shows that women voters are more likely to vote for women candidates, especially if they share their values. In targeted districts where this dynamic can change the outcome of the election, we engage women voters with the use of direct mail and phone calls to introduce them to our endorsed candidates and provide useful voting information such early voting dates and polling place locations. This extra layer of outreach, especially to infrequent women voters, can serve as a powerful motivator to participate in the election.

Early Money and Often
As the election cycle advances, we constantly monitor the progress of our endorsed candidates. Provided that they are doing everything on their end they can to win, we also make substantial financial contributions to their campaigns. In the 2006 election cycle alone, Annie’s List donated over $250,000 to our candidates. In 2008 and 2010, we hope to donate more to a new group of targeted candidates while still helping our incumbents. This early money supports our goal of creating a pipeline of campaign professionals and women candidates to run for office.

In four short years we have developed a formula for success that has worked to change the face of power in Texas politics. 2011 redistricting is just around the corner, and we have seven more seats in the Texas House to win. We hope you will join us in the fight to take back Texas. Visit to learn more and please let us know if you are interested in getting involved. Thanks again to The Texas Blue for this opportunity to introduce ourselves.

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