In a year where women are running for office in record numbers, Angela Marinucci’s endorsement by the Women’s TAP Fund is the latest milestone in a campaign to elect a woman to an executive office in a county government that is dominated by men
2018 is a watershed year for women political candidates. Emily’s List, an organization that recruits and supports women seeking public office, says that 40,000 women have contacted them about running for office in 2018, as compared to 1,000 women who did so in 2016. These women are seeking governorships and congressional seats, but they are also running locally as well. And most importantly, they are winning. A study by the Brookings Institute shows that in Democratic primaries, 47% of non-incumbent women candidates have won their races, as compared to 23% of male candidates.
In Erie County, for the first time in history, all the endorsed candidates for countywide offices are women: Angela Marinucci for Erie County Clerk, Sue Maxwell Barnes for Erie County Court, and Lisa Bloch Rodwin for Erie County Family Court. This history-making slate hopes to reverse a troubling downward trend in women who hold elected office in Erie County. According to a study just released by the Erie County Commission on the Status of Women, the current number of women in elected office in Erie County is at its lowest point in decades. After reaching a high around the turn of the century, the number of women in elected office has steadily declined. Although women comprise 52% of the population and 53%of registered voters, they currently hold only 33% elected offices. And no woman has held one of the five countywide executive offices (County Executive, Clerk, Comptroller, Sheriff and District Attorney) since Kathy Hochul left the Clerk’s Office in 2011.
Marinucci is a local attorney and mother of three daughters, who aims to change that this year. She decided to run for office to serve her community, and because she believes that women deserve to play an equal role in shaping policies that impact everyone. Since her endorsement in May, Marinucci has been campaigning across Erie County and raising money to support a vigorous advertising campaign to spread her message. In her first campaign finance report, filed earlier this month, Marinucci raised almost $40,000, which was $10,000 more than her opponent, who is the incumbent. An analysis of her filing shows that 66% of her individual donors are women, and 67% of the money she raised came from women.
“Once I made my decision to run, I started to reach out to my network of friends and colleagues, and I am deeply appreciative of the support I have received,” said Marinucci. “Many of my supporters told me that I am the first political candidate they have ever donated to, and some have even asked me for advice as they consider running for office.”
The Women’s TAP Fund, a Western New York Political Action Committee that supports women candidates for local, state and federal offices, recently endorsed Marinucci. “Angela impressed our panel with her understanding of the Clerk’s Office and her disciplined work ethic,” said Barbara Schifeling, Chair of the Women’s TAP Fund Steering Committee. “We see the energy and enthusiasm she brings to the race and applaud her commitment to restoring women’s leadership to the executive branch of county government.”
Michelle Schoeneman, who ran a strong race for Erie County Legislature in 2017 and impressed veteran campaign watchers with her organizing ability and fundraising prowess, applauds Marinucci’s willingness to take on an entrenched political insider and to try and shake-up the old boys network in Erie County. “If we are serious about improving our community, we need to get new people in leadership roles,” said Schoeneman. “I met Angela a few months ago over coffee, and I knew right away that she is someone who will bring new ideas to county government. She inspired and energized me and gave me a renewed hope for the future. I encourage other women who want to be more involved in public life to join her campaign. Volunteering is a great opportunity to see what a campaign is like, especially if you have thought about running for office yourself.”
Angela Marinucci is a long-time resident of Western New York who is passionate about public service and hopes to become Erie County Clerk to serve her community and to inspire other women to engage politically. You can find out more about her campaign, sign up to volunteer and donate at: angelamarinucci.com.