The 2018 election may be more than a year away, but Democratic organizations are already gearing up to try to take back control of Congress. Emily's List, the political action committee devoted to getting pro-choice Democratic women in office, has put 50 Republican lawmakers "on notice," revealing which incumbents the group will focus on kicking out of office.
"Women are fed up with so-called representatives who prefer Washington politics to protecting their rights – and we’re launching our largest-ever opposition program to send them packing in 2018," Stephanie Schriock, the president of Emily's List, said in a statement sent to Refinery29.
The organization's list spans both the House and Senate, and is made up of five women and 45 men, including familiar names such as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Sens. Dean Heller of Nevada and Jeff Flake of Arizona will be targeted even more than the others, as Emily's List believes their seats are vulnerable. Both Heller and Flake were criticized by the left for voting to open debate on Republican healthcare legislation this week, and Flake voted "yes" on a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare and a separate plan to simply repeal it (both measures failed).
A Democratic candidate, Rep. Jacky Rosen, has already emerged to challenge Heller in Nevada. Emily's List endorsed Rosen, who currently represents Nevada's Second Congressional District in the House, writing in a press release that Heller "has consistently played politics with the lives of the working people he was elected to represent and serve."
Sen. Flake, on the other hand, could face opposition from both sides, as Democrats are looking for a candidate to challenge him and the White House is reportedly looking for a Republican who will be more supportive of the administration to replace him.
The group has past losses to learn from when trying to win congressional seats for Democratic women: In 2016, the group put $1 million behind Maryland Senate candidate Donna Edwards, who lost the primary to Chris Van Hollen (who went on to win the Senate seat).
But, it remains determined to flip seats in Congress for Democrats. "The 50 Republicans we’ve put ‘On Notice’ thought they could get away with voting time and again to roll back the clock on women’s rights," Schriock said. "They’re wrong."