Under the Dome

Emily’s List endorses Deborah Ross for Senate

In a move certain to boost her campaign fundraising, Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Deborah Ross has won the endorsement of Emily’s List.

The group, which supports Democratic women who support abortion rights, helped pump an estimated $4 million into former U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan’s 2014 campaign.

Ross, a former state lawmaker, is running for the Democratic nomination for the seat held by Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, who faces three opponents in the March 15 GOP primary.

In the Democratic contest, Ross faces Kevin Griffin, a small businessman from Durham, former candidate Ernest Reeves of Greenville and Chris Rey, mayor of the Cumberland County town of Spring Lake.

Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List, called Ross “a lifelong champion for for North Carolina women and families.”

“Deborah has been a leader in the fight to end gender discrimination in pay in the North Carolina House, and she is a longtime advocate for women’s access to health care and economic security for working families,” Schriock said in a statement.

The endorsement comes days after two of her Democratic opponents raised questions about Ross’ earlier role as state director for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Griffin and Rey said she’d face almost certain attack ads from Republicans about positions she took as state director of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Griffin pointed to Ross’ 2001 opposition to a bill allowing public schools to display the Ten Commandments. Ross called such a display an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. She said the ACLU would sue.

Jim Morrill: 704-358-5059, @jimmorrill