Will Emily's List Director Stephanie Schriock Become a Political Candidate Herself?

After dozens of successful campaigns, Schriock must decide whether to make a run of her own.


After years working behind the scenes, President of EMILY's list Stephanie Schriock is considering stepping into the spotlight.

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But she's not the only one considering the Senate race in Montana. Former Gov. Brian Schweitzer is the name on most pundits' radars. A Colorado College poll in 2012, showed the populist Schweitzer, who is known for his bolo ties and resistance to suits, with a 65 percent approval rating. And one group, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, has already launched the "Draft Brian Schweitzer" campaign, which 16,000 people have signed onto. In the two weeks since Baucus announced his retirement, the grassroots group has raised $23,000 for Schweitzer who has yet to announce whether he plans to run for the seat. Pundits in the state say, while anything could happen, it's unlikely Montanans would see a primary showdown between Schweitzer and Schriock.

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"That is money that is raised for him, and if he runs, he will get that money on day one to pay for staff, clipboards and office space, all the things you need to start a campaign," says Matt Wall, a spokesman for the group. "We got behind Schweitzer before he even announced because of his record as an economic populist. His record of standing up for the little guy against big corporations resonates in red states and is a model for other Democrats in red states to emulate."

Larry Sabato, a political pundit at the University of Virginia, has said that if Schweitzer runs for the Senate, he'll start with the advantage in the GOP-leaning state, while other Democratic candidates including Schriock will be more vulnerable.

"The polling has indicated that Schweitzer probably would be a better general election candidate than Baucus," Sabato wrote. "If Schweitzer does not run, then this race will probably tilt at least slightly to the Republicans."

Montana Republican Party Executive Director Bowen Greenwood says that Schweitzer has a more moderate record than Schriock, which would work in his advantage.

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"She has quite a record as a campaign manager, but there is a big difference between campaign manager and candidate," Greenwood says. "There is a reason that Democrats want Brian Schweitzer so bad because a standard East Coast liberal just don't fly here."

Allies of Schriock's, however, say that the campaign strategist has all the potential in the world to surprise those who doubt her.

"She is a contender. Her name should not be ignored or forgotten," says Democratic strategist Murphy.

As for the suggestion that it's time for Schriock to take her own advice?

"She has basically already followed her own advice. Her advice has always been 'get involved in politics, serve' and you cannot argue she hasn't already done that," the Democratic strategist says. "If she goes back to Montana, runs and wins, she would help elect one more woman to the Senate. If she stays put, she has the opportunity to elect a half dozen more."

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