But, with the New York Times report about her exclusive use of a personal e-mail account during her tenure at the State Department, the excitement and buzz around the Emily's List event has been tempered. Rather than a flat-out celebration of the group's work and of Clinton, the evening is likely to be somewhat awkward. Will Clinton address the email controversy? Or ignore it entirely? Whatever she says (or doesn't say) will now be the headline out of the event.
At least some suggest that the setting is exactly the right one for Clinton to make remarks about the controversy. Embattled more now than at any other point during her non-campaign campaign, Clinton could benefit from a rallying effect in front of as strongly supportive of an audience as she will ever have, they argue. People "are excited to listen to her speech, this is her base, they are standing by her and tonight she will see just how true that is," said Tracy Sefl, a Democratic consultant who works with the super PAC "Ready for Hillary," which is partnering with EMILY's List for tonight's event. "This is a truly passionate and committed group of supporters."
EMILY's List did not respond to a request for comment.
It is without argument that the ties between EMILY's List and Clinton are strong, with the prospect of Clinton run energizing the group and providing a do-over for their 2008 efforts. That year, Ellen Malcolm, the organization's founder was the co-chair of Clinton's campaign. "I think we learned that Hillary Clinton is an extraordinary candidate and I hope she runs in 2016. She set the stage for her next opportunities, but the incredibly good job that she did in that campaign made it easier for women running after her" Malcolm said in a previous interview. "The biggest thing we face is getting voters to believe in our women’s candidates. They saw Hillary in the rough and tumble and people said that wow, women can run."
In 2013, the group launched their Madam President campaign, just months after Clinton left Foggy Bottom. Focus groups, polls and town halls have also been a part of their efforts, all designed to prime the pump for a Clinton run. The 2014 midterms provided yet another chance for the group to grow its list and reach, with the campaigns of several high profile women in tough states allowing the group to vacuum up data from voters. Stephanie Schriock, who currently heads the group, was on the shortlist for top jobs in the Clinton campaign--her current perch allows her to coordinate with Clinton's campaign and still follow election rules.
With Clinton, EMILY's List has their biggest draw and their biggest target. Tonight Clinton will have to balance those two realities, drawing adulation from supporters even as she is under pressure to address a major stumbling block that could corrode some of her ability to grow beyond that adoring base.