Emily's List, a political action committee that pushes to elect Democratic female candidates who support abortion rights, says it is putting Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) "on notice" for 2018.
The political group says it will back a candidate to run against Hogan next year, and raise money for that campaign, because Hogan vetoed a bill that required companies with 15 or more employees to provide paid sick leave and because he appointed Robert E. Moffit, a critic of President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, as chairman of the state's health-care commission.
"Gov. Larry Hogan has amassed a shameful record of turning his back on women's rights and shortchanging Maryland families," said Emily Cain, executive director of Emily's List, in a statement.
The statement also asserts that Hogan "failed to protect Planned Parenthood funding." In fact, Hogan declined to block a 2016 bill that requires Maryland to reimburse Planned Parenthood clinics for their services if Congress defunds the organization. The governor allowed the measure to become law without his signature.
Bryan Lesswing, a spokesman for Emily's List, said the group viewed Hogan's refusal to sign the measure as "turning his back" on the funding.
"The governor's record of supporting common-sense paid sick leave and passionately fighting for all Marylanders speaks for itself," said Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Hogan. "This is nothing more than false political rhetoric from a partisan political organization."
Emily's List would not say whether it supports Krishanti Vignarajah, who entered the race last month. Vignarajah is a former aide to Michelle Obama.
"It's early in the cycle, and the field is not defined yet," Lesswing said.
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, a policy consultant who is married to U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), has said she is considering a run.
In addition to Vignarajah, the field of Democrats vying to challenge Hogan in 2018 so far includes five men: Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, former NAACP chairman Benjamin Jealous, state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr., entrepreneur Alec Ross and lawyer Jim Shea. The filing deadline is in February.
Hogan is one of three Republican governors whom Emily's List has put "on notice." The others are Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.
"Women candidates and women voters are stepping up at historic levels and will change the tide in states across the country this election cycle," Cain said in the statement."Voters know that women and families deserve better from their state elected officials than these legislators and officials, who have sought to drastically limit — and in some cases outright ban — reproductive health options, end critical workplace protections, and roll back voting rights."
Emily's List got its start 30 years ago by backing then-Rep. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) for U.S. Senate.
Last year, after Mikulski announced her retirement, the group unsuccessfully threw its weight behind then-Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-Md.) to become Mikulski's successor. Edwards lost in the Democratic primary to then-Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who went on to win the general election.