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Meet the Women of Election 2016

Meet the Women of Election 2016

By Ashley Parker

Sure, there are two female presidential candidates — but women are everywhere behind the scenes too. Watch these key players; they're running the show.

When people describe the 2016 election as a biggie for women, they're usually referring to one woman: Hillary Clinton. But there are women all over this race, from another top-of-the-ticket candidate (that would be Republican Carly Fiorina, who recently drew a standing-room-only crowd in Iowa) to multiple vice presidential contenders (see: New Mexico governor Susana Martinez) to staffers behind the scenes. All 20 of the major campaigns (yes, 20, as Glamour went to press) have women in top posts; nine candidates have women as their press secretary or spokesperson, a post more typically reserved for the guys. News networks and digital platforms also have women spearheading their campaign efforts. Let's hear the stories of some of these influencers.


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Why They Jumped In

AshLee Strong, national press secretary for Scott Walker for America: "I think Governor Walker is best positioned to take on the challenges of the day. This election is about improving people's lives, and I want to make sure I'm working day in and day out to elect the person who has a clear track record of doing that."
Aditi Nangia, director of travel for Hillary for America: "I've lived abroad for most of my life, and that's one reason I love working for Hillary — even when I was 6 years old in the Philippines, she was a global force for good. She's a champion not just for Americans but for women everywhere."
Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino: "You can't get the White House without at least 35 percent of the Latino vote. Mitt Romney won just 27 percent, and he didn't have a shot."The Moment Things Got Real

Kirsten Kukowski, communications director for Scott Walker for America: "We were going through Governor Walker's speech [before] he declared, and he said, 'And that's why I'm running to be the next president of the United States.' I kind of had that moment of 'OK, this is real, he's going to do it.' After, I said, 'I'm going to be weird and take a picture of this. We have to document this!'"

Huma Abedin, vice chair of Hillary for America: "[When Clinton announced her candidacy] what I remember the most, maybe because I'm a mom, were all the little kids on their dads' shoulders, particularly the little girls. It's like, This is a moment in history."

How They Balance Campaign Life and Real Life

Strong: "I'm in Wisconsin, and my husband's back in D.C., but the opportunity to work for Governor Walker was too good to pass up. We talk on the phone as much as possible."

Welker: "You're gone for weeks at a time, you come home, do your laundry, and get back on the trail.... I talk to my parents and my boyfriend every day. It helps you maintain a sense of normalcy."

Amanda Renteria, national political director for Hillary for America: "The campaign becomes your family. You're there so many hours, and this is personal—everyone has made sacrifices to be there. Yet there is this incredible energy."

Kristen Welker, NBC News White House correspondent: "My mother [who is African American] ran for city council when I was in ninth grade and college, and a few reporters asked her why she was married to my father, who was white. It just angered me and made me feel that voters and candidates deserve a more elevated level of discourse. I want to press candidates to articulate policy."

Rosario Dawson, co-founder of Voto Latino: "It's organizations like ours that go, 'Hey, pay attention.' And you want people to stay engaged. Every four years people feel like, 'Oh man, I lost this one,' if their candidate doesn't win. But that's still your president, that's still your senator. You've got to keep talking to them."
Crystal Patterson, government and politics outreach manager at Facebook: "Social media is going to be at the center of the 2016 election ... Candidates are viewed as being on pedestals because of the roles they've played; Facebook really helps close that gap."


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The Moment Things Got Real

Kirsten Kukowski, communications director for Scott Walker for America: "We were going through Governor Walker's speech [before] he declared, and he said, 'And that's why I'm running to be the next president of the United States.' I kind of had that moment of 'OK, this is real, he's going to do it.' After, I said, 'I'm going to be weird and take a picture of this. We have to document this!'"

Huma Abedin, vice chair of Hillary for America: "[When Clinton announced her candidacy] what I remember the most, maybe because I'm a mom, were all the little kids on their dads' shoulders, particularly the little girls. It's like, This is a moment in history."

How They Balance Campaign Life and Real Life

Strong: "I'm in Wisconsin, and my husband's back in D.C., but the opportunity to work for Governor Walker was too good to pass up. We talk on the phone as much as possible."

Welker: "You're gone for weeks at a time, you come home, do your laundry, and get back on the trail ... I talk to my parents and my boyfriend every day. It helps you maintain a sense of normalcy."

Amanda Renteria, national political director for Hillary for America: "The campaign becomes your family. You're there so many hours, and this is personal—everyone has made sacrifices to be there. Yet there is this incredible energy."


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Instagram and Snapchat and Selfies, Oh My!

Lee Carosi Dunn, leader of the elections team at Google: "2016 will become known for being the campaign of video content. People want authenticity and directness from candidates, and the best platform to provide that without a filter from the media is YouTube."

Katie Dowd, digital director for Hillary for America: "Seeing this campaign play out online is incredibly fun every day — someone made our logo out of berries! ... [Hillary] has really enjoyed Instagram as another way to connect people with what's happening on the campaign trail. She's pretty into selfies."

How They Outsmart the Stress

Kukowski: "A lot of our staff have Fitbits, so we started a Fitbit challenge. It's nice to see everyone pacing around the office, trying to get their steps in. The governor beats most of us."

Maya Harris, senior policy adviser for Hillary for America: "My sister [Kamala Harris, who is running for Senate in California] and I always remind each other to eat well, get exercise, get some sleep. I was talking to her yesterday when I got home from meetings in Washington, D.C., at 11 at night, and she's like, 'What are you going to eat? You know you need to eat. Did you eat today?'"


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What It Feels Like to Disrupt the Boys' Club

Dunn: "I think many men in politics and in tech appreciate strong, confident women. If you can be that woman in the room, you can succeed."
Patterson: "I've never let being the person who's different stop me from pursuing my goals. I was always almost the only minority kid in the class, or the only girl on the playground wanting to play basketball with the boys. I always just made it a goal to do my best work and not let other people's hang-ups define what I was going to do."

What They Hope to Do the Day After the Election

Abedin: "Spend an entire day with my son [Jordan Zain, age three] — make him some pasta, buy him some ice cream, and turn off my phone!"

More From Glamour:
• The Woman's Guide to the 22 (Yes, 22!) Candidates for President
• How Carly Fiorina and Hillary Rodham Clinton Are Taking a Page From the “Iron Lady,” Margaret Thatcher
• "An Amy Schumer Girl in a Chuck Schumer World," and 5 More This-Would-Be-My-Campaign-Slogans From the Team Behind Glamour's the #51Million
• In This Week's Political Words With Friends, Democrat Krystal Marie Ball Asks Republican S.E. Cupp: Can We Talk About Donald Trump's Woman Problem?

Photo Credit: Glamour