Soon-to-be Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was the headline attraction for Tuesday evening's gala celebrating the 30th anniversary of EMILY's List, the organization promoting pro-choice Democratic women for public office. But the event had a decidedly Massachusetts flavor to it – despite the total blackout of the name of the Commonwealth's former top female pol and EMILY's list darling, Martha Coakley.

Back to those Massachusetts women in a moment. First, though, the understandably self-congratulatory tenor of the event, which necessitated the Stalinesque disappearing of Coakley.

Certainly the organization has much to crow about, historically. It also can take a decent share of credit for the still-shrinking gender disparity among newly elected Democrats.

But there's little to be upbeat about for the organization, and the deep-pocketed donors packing the vast DC Hilton ballroom. They want more Democratic women in office, and the GOP's recent midterm clock-cleaning pushed the numbers the opposite way.

And in fact, those numbers have been stagnant or dropping over the past eight years – that is, since the last time EMILY's List got geared up to elect Clinton President.

The crash landing of that campaign was just the most high-profile setback. In the 2014 elections, the number of Democratic US Senators dropped from 16 to 14; Tuesday's speakers avoided mention of losing candidates Alison Lunderman Grimes, Kay Hagan, Mary Landrieu, Michelle Nunn and Natalie Tennant. In the US House, the number of Democratic women inched up to 62, from 61.

Numbers at the state level, where EMILY's List puts significant effort as well, are worse. Since 2007, the number of elected Democratic statewide officeholders has plunged from 45 to 34, according to Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics. That includes just three Governors, six Attorneys General, and four Treasurers. Democratic women state senators number just 261 now, down from 292 in 2007; and state representatives 811, down from 894.

EMILY's List made a special effort to elect women Governors in 2014, only to see Mary Burke, Wendy Davis, and Allyson Schwartz join Coakley in defeat. Only New Hampshire incumbent Maggie Hassan and Rhode Island's Gina Raimondo won; the third current Democratic woman Governor, Kate Brown of Oregon, inherited the office when the incumbent resigned in scandal.

Women are increasingly beating a path to Democratic Party nominations, but losing, along with their male counterparts, to Republicans. There is one obvious path to reversing this, from EMILY's List's perspective: getting young women to vote. It's no mystery. Women under 30 are strongly disposed toward voting for Democrats (although no longer looking to elect women in particular, according to Barbara Lee Foundation research), but don't care enough to vote, especially in mid-term elections. In Massachusetts, for example, only 25 percent voted in this past November's elections, less than half of the rate of voters over 30; any half-decent turnout of young women would have put Coakley in the corner office.

It seems fairly clear, however, after at least eight years of it, that the current themes and rhetoric from groups like EMILY's List – the “war on women” outrage over the retro-ignorance and patrimony of balding white Republicans – isn't politically energizing those young women in the least.

That rhetoric works really well, though, on the well-off Baby Boomer liberals who fund EMILY's List. They went wild Tuesday when EMILY's List (and, for a while at least, a rumored Clinton 2016 campaign manager) president Stephanie Schriock spoke of Todd “legitimate rape” Akin and other easy GOP targets.

That's all fine and good – and, again, that kind of pep rally is what this kind of event is for. It remains far from clear to me, however, that the group is taking the money from these Boomers and using it to figure out how to appeal to Millennial women.

Finding the Future in Massachusetts

Those donors and activists – many of whom hail from the Bay State – are, however, looking for new feisty champions to get excited about, to help them forget about the losers mentioned above. And they really like some of the new faces from Massachusetts.

Senator Elizabeth Warren did not attend the gala, but might have been the most mentioned name from the dais aside from Clinton. Katherine Clark was the first brought on stage among a group of new Congresswomen; she has already become a clear favorite of Nancy Pelosi, and has the high hopes of EMILY's Listers. Attorney General Maura Healey was making the rounds, and I heard from several people that she bowled over a group at a session that morning.

The big attention, however, was on Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley, who received the second annual Gabbie Giffords Rising Star Award. That earned her a 15 minute speaking slot at the gala, and she nailed it perfectly, telling her story proudly and confidently for a crowd that was ready to eat someone like her up.

Erin Gloria Ryan of Jezebel wrote that “as soon as Pressley opened her mouth, the room went from feeling like a pep rally to feeling like a religious revival.”

A small sampling from some of the Tweets from the ballroom should give you a sense of the reception Pressley received:

“If you don't know who @ayannapressley is, you will. Wow.” --Krystal Ball, MSNBC.

“Tonight's the first time I've heard of @AyannaPressley, but she's a star” --Philip Rucker, Washington Post.

“My biggest takeaway from #EMILYsList30 was that @AyannaPressley should be CEO of Earth.” --businesswoman Meredith Fineman.

“I have seen politics future and it is Ayanna Pressley” --Rebecca Traistor, The New Republic.

“Excuse me while I pick my jaw up off the floor. @AyannaPressley is the real deal y'all” --Kayla Webley, Marie Claire.

“I really hope somebody at @emilyslist is recording and replaying that @AyannaPressley speech because goddamn” --Jill Filipovic, Cosmopolitan.

Attendees and politicos swarmed her in front of the stage after the gala wrapped up. “She's awesome” a woman gushed to her friend after getting her picture taken with Pressley. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who chairs the Democratic National Committee, leaned in close to tell Pressley she wanted to involve her in upcoming plans. “The sky's the limit” for Pressley, Wasserman-Schultz told me.

Heady stuff for a third-term city councilor. Expect her to get a lot of new invites – and checks – from national Democrats for a while. At least, until she loses, and gets disappeared like Coakley.