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.
Right now, Democrats are a powerless majority. Despite having won the popular vote in 6 of the last 7 presidential elections, the 2016 election only added to the losses of recent years. Since 2009, Democrats have 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 control the governor’s seat and both houses of the state legislature in 26 states, Democrats do so in only 8. We’re focused on legislative districts at the state level and helping candidates get the resources they need to run competitive campaigns.
Why are we focused on state legislative districts? Because the policy choices made by state legislators have a huge impact. Whether you care about education, health care, the environment, voting rights, equality, or women’s rights, the legislation that state legislators do – or don’t – enact affects us every single day.
States are also critical in the fight for fair maps. State legislatures play a huge role in drawing district lines, at the state and federal level. Given how Republicans have gerrymandered congressional districts, Democrats would need to win the popular vote by over 10 points to take back the House. After 2020, states will re-draw the lines, and if Democrats don’t have enough seats at the table to ensure fair maps, we could be locked out the majority in Congress for another 10 years.
Democrats face a daunting, but not insurmountable, challenge in building power back. The good news is that things are looking up. Throughout 2017, Democrats won a slew of state legislative special elections in red areas. In May, a Democrat won a special election for a New York State Assembly district that Trump won handily in November. In July, Democrats had two surprise victories in state legislative special elections in Oklahoma. In September, Democrat Annette Taddeo picked up a Florida State Senate seat from Republicans.
Election Day 2017 was even better. Democrats held all three statewide offices in Virginia, and picked up fifteen state legislative seats – an unprecedented victory. EveryDistrict supported 14 state legislative candidates in Virginia; David Reid, Lee Carter, Schuyler VanValkenburg, Debra Rodman, Cheryl Turpin, Hala Ayala, Elizabeth Guzman, Dawn Adams, Wendy Gooditis, and Kelly Fowler all won their races, and Delegate John Bell was re-elected.
That trend continued into 2018, with Democrats most recently flipping a Missouri State Senate seat that went for Trump by 5 points in 2016. Since November 2016, Democrats have picked up 43 state legislative seats.
In 2018, we’re building Democratic power in the states by winning back state legislative seats across the country.
We aim to do two things to fundamentally change how Democrats organize at the state legislative level. First, we want to get good data in the hands of every Democratic activist across the country. On our website, you can see the most winnable districts across the country and in our target states. These maps are about helping you identify, and organize in, the best places to change your local community and states across the country. See the big map here.
We’re going to continue expanding the map by investing in state legislative races in our five target states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. We’re working in these five states because our data analysis shows that Democrats have a path to taking back power in either or both chambers of the state legislature by 2020 in each of these states.
Second, we can replicate the success of Virginia in other states in 2018 by changing how Democrats fundraise. 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 here. And unlike other groups, the dollars that you raise go directly to the candidates themselves so they can use the dollars effectively and immediately.
Looking to get involved? Sign up for our mailing list to learn how you can help, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, and make a donation to help us start taking back state legislative seats now.