Eight weeks into Audrey Denney’s 2018 Congressional campaign, she was struggling. Hard. The idea of calling friends, family, co-workers, and community members to ask them to donate had the first-time candidate “crippled with anxiety,” she said. The initial enthusiasm for running a campaign against Republican Rep. Doug LaMalfa in California’s 1st Congressional District had been replaced with an almost unbearable imposter syndrome.
“A lot of my experience as a first time candidate, in those early days, was so much anxiety around not feeling like I was enough,” Denney told HuffPost. “And that directly translated into fundraising.”
Denney’s experience is a common one for women in politics, regardless of party, identity and the level at which they’re running. Whereas men running for office tend to feel more entitled to campaign donations — and be more likely to run in circles with big donors to get them — women are generally less comfortable asking for money when doing so on behalf of themselves, experts say.