Lillian's List begins 2012 campaign push
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RALEIGH -- The state's current top Democratic woman in office is stepping aside at the end of 2012, but one group said they are working to make sure there are new female faces to fill her shoes.
“The representation for women is woefully low,” said Laura Edwards with Lillian's List.
This year, Lillian's List has 27 Democratic, pro-choice candidates it's endorsing for every elected office from the state house to the Council of State. Political observers said that is still lower than many would hope it would be.
“Only 7 percent of the candidates for the North Carolina Senate are women,” said political analyst David McLennan, “and it is slightly better on the House side. But again nowhere near equality in terms of candidates.”
About 54 percent of North Carolina voters are women, but less than 25 percent of those who represent them are females.
This year, the General Assembly completed the once-in-a-decade process of redistricting.
This is where new legislative district lines are drawn to match new census numbers. Democratic women said they believe they were targeted for defeat through these maps.
“There were a lot of women who were double-bunked,” said Rep. Martha Alexander, a Mecklenburg County Democrat. "That is, they were placed in the same district to have to run against each other. And it just seemed to be an unusual number.
Republicans who helped penned the redistricting maps have said there was no intention to target Democratic female lawmakers.
On Wednesday, Lillian's List handed more than $100,000 dollars to female primary candidates and said it will continue to support them through the November election.
“To have women at the table, to have women in the dialogue, changes the dialogue," said Edwards.
Political experts said they anticipate there will be less women in the General Assembly, on both sides of the aisle, after the November election.