At EveryDistrict, we believe that Democrats can run competitive campaigns in every district at the state level. We aim to rebuild the Democratic Party by winning power back at the state level through better data and better approaches to fundraising.
After the 2016 election, Democrats were a powerless majority. Despite having won the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections, the 2016 election only added to the losses of recent years. Since 2009, Democrats had lost 10% of their Senate seats, 20% of their House seats, 35% of their governors, and 20% of their state legislative houses, over 1,000 legislative seats in all. While Republicans controlled the governor’s seat and both houses of the state legislature in 26 states, Democrats did so in only eight.
EveryDistrict was formed in early 2017 to rebuild the Democratic Party from the states up.
To do this, EveryDistrict first set out to understand where there were competitive state legislative districts that Democrats could flip with the right investment and strategy. Unlike congressional races, no public database existed that provided a competitiveness ranking for every state legislative district. Starting with the Virginia House of Delegates, EveryDistrict’s first target chamber in 2017, EveryDistrict created the EveryDistrict “Legislative District Index” (LDI) to rank each of the 100 House of Delegate districts by their competitiveness.
In 2018, we expanded this data work to all 50 states, giving each of the 6,764 state legislative districts across the country a unique LDI score. This nationwide view supported a highly targeted investment strategy, where EveryDistrict focused our efforts on the state legislative districts necessary to win to flip chambers. We also knew this tool could help others. EveryDistrict developed the first ever public nationwide competitiveness map of state legislative districts to help you identify, and organize in, the best places to make change in your local community. You can see the map here and learn more about the LDI here.
EveryDistrict’s second major activity in support of our mission involved endorsing strong candidates running in competitive districts and providing those candidates with direct financial support. Since our founding in early 2017, EveryDistrict has endorsed 76 candidates across six states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Our financial support has helped to elect 37 new state legislators.
We believe in changing how Democrats do fundraising. We believe that the future is in “peer-to-peer” fundraising, where fundraising champions use their networks to raise money for Democrats, instead of the more extractive top-down approach to fundraising today. We are recruiting hundreds of fundraising champions to lead the way. Learn about how to become a fundraising champion, and sign up, here.
Since the 2016 election, Democrats have flipped over 300 state legislative seats. Democrats now have 14 trifecta states, while Republicans have 22. We’ve made progress, but Democrats still have a long way to go to fully rebuild power in the states.
In 2019, EveryDistrict will be back in Virginia working to flip the legislature blue and turn Virginia into a Democratic trifecta state. We’ll also add another state to our list, Mississippi, where Democrats have an opportunity to grow their numbers in the state legislature and help the top of the ticket along the way.
We’ll be updating and refining our LDI to help guide our investments in 2020 and to give activists working on the ground in all 50 states the best possible information about where they can make change in their communities.
In 2019, we launched EveryDistrict Action Fund to help you be a better advocate for policy reform in the states.
We believe that the right to vote is the most fundamental right in our democracy and that our elected leaders should make it as easy as possible for as many people as possible to vote.
State government plays a large role in legislating voting rights, which is why EveryDistrict Action Fund is focused on implementing pro-voting policies in the states.
But in recent years, only one political party has shown an interest in this agenda. States that have fallen under Republican control in the past decade have seen one restrictive voting policy after another passed by legislatures and signed into law by governors. In contrast, when Democrats took control of Congress in the 2018 election, the first bill introduced was a sweeping measure to expand voting rights.
EveryDistrict Action Fund’s first project examines how blue states can strengthen voting rights. Read our report, 2019 Blue States Report: A Voting Rights Action Plan, and visit EveryDistrict.us/Voting-Rights to learn how you can take direct action to strengthen voting rights in states across the country.