Last week was a good fundraising week for Democrats. Third quarter FEC reports were due, and Democrats running for the Senate and the House posted some impressive totals. Beto O’Rourke shattered fundraising records, raising $38 million just this quarter. Democratic challengers for House seats outraised Republican incumbents in 92 House districts last quarter, an unprecedented feat that further boosts Democrats’ chances to take back the House.
Polling has also continued to favor Democrats taking back the House. Nate Silver currently projects over an 80% chance that Democrats will win enough seats to take back the majority in 2018. The latest generic ballot polling shows Democrats to be up 9 points. With that type of lead on the generic ballot, our analysis shows Democrats can put 14 state legislative chambers in play this year.
But the gains that federal candidates have made in fundraising this year have been slower to trickle down to state legislative candidates. Right now, EveryDistrict’s 62 candidates need $4 million to close the gap with their Republican opponents. And while $4 million is a lot of money, we know that with your help we can start to close that gap.
At EveryDistrict, our focus is flipping state legislatures from red to blue. Right now, Republicans have trifectas (controlling both houses of the state legislature and the governorship) in 26 states, Democrats do so in only 8. We crunched the numbers on every state legislative district in the country, and our first-of-its-kind map shows where there are competitive districts in key swing states across the country.
In 2018, we’re working in five states where our data analysis shows an opportunity for Democrats to take back one or both chambers of the state legislature: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. We’ve endorsed 62 candidates running in the most competitive districts in these states — districts that Democrats have to win to take back the majority.
Our candidates are running hard, and we know that they can win. But they haven’t received the same level of funding as federal candidates.
In Ohio, EveryDistrict has endorsed four State Senate candidates and ten State House candidates. The last filing deadline was in June, and we won’t get updated numbers until the end of October. As of the last filing deadline, EveryDistrict’s 14 candidates were behind in the money race by over $1.8 million. That’s right — $1.8 million. This total also only includes amounts raised this cycle (since January 1, 2017); it doesn’t include any cash Republican incumbents had left over from last cycle.
State legislative candidates in Florida were required to file reports at the beginning of October, which gives a very clear financial picture. There, Republicans has almost $1 million more cash on hand to spend in the final month than EveryDistrict’s ten candidates.
In Pennsylvania, EveryDistrict has endorsed 20 State House candidates. Again, the last totals we have for Pennsylvania candidates are from June, and we know a lot has changed since then. But in June, EveryDistrict’s 20 candidates were behind in the money race by almost $400,000.
The latest totals from Michigan show the cash on hand differential from the beginning of September. In Michigan, EveryDistrict has endorsed nine State Senate candidates and five State House candidates. There, the fundraising picture looks even better; Republicans only had a $20,000 cash advantage.
Arizona state legislative candidates filed reports last week, giving us the best financial picture of all five states. EveryDistrict’s two Arizona State Senate candidates were only behind in cash on hand by a little over $100,000. In the State House, there are two representatives per district. EveryDistrict has endorsed three candidates running in three different districts; so we pulled the fundraising numbers for all four candidates running in each district to see all of the dollars being spent in each race. There, Democrats are actually ahead in cash on hand by $50,000.
Closing this gap will be critical for whether or not these candidates can win on Election Day. We know voters are motivated to vote for Democrats. But we have to make sure that voters vote all the way down the ticket, and not just for the Senate, House, or Gubernatorial candidates. It’s critical that state legislative candidates have the necessary funding to get their message out to voters.
So, what can you do to help?
First, make a donation. We’ve identified 20 of our candidates who we know can win, but who have been outraised by their Republican opponents. Your dollars will go directly to our candidates — no middleman.
Our goal is to raise $20,000 for these 20 candidates in the final two weeks before Election Day, and you can help us meet that goal. Donate today to our “Two for Twenty” campaign to make sure these candidates have the resources they need to get out the vote before Election Day.
Second, you can expand your impact. At EveryDistrict, we think Democrats need to think about a different way to do fundraising.
If you’ve ever given money to a Democratic candidate, you’re probably familiar with the e-mails. You know, the hounding, constant notes from political committees and politicians. The ones that make you fear that if you don’t donate $5 right now, no Democrats will win in November and it will be solely your fault.
While the evidence on the ground is that these emails do raise money, this type of fundraising does not build a strong progressive movement.
Republicans are always going to have the big money. Democrats have found a way to chip away at that by tapping into small dollar donors. But the Kochs, Mercers, and Adelsons aren’t going away, and they’ll keep writing checks for millions of dollars to combat any gains Democrats make. So, how can we use fundraising to build a stronger movement to support Democrats consistent with our values?
By turning small and mid-size donors into organizers.
We need you to become a fundraising champion to support the candidates across the country that we have endorsed. These candidates will take back their state legislatures and bring progressive policymaking to their capitals.
Becoming a fundraising champion is not about being a big donor. It’s about donating at a level you’re comfortable with — and then organizing your friends to do the same. Think, if you could give $100 to help a candidate who will invest in education, affordable healthcare, and rebuilding local infrastructure, do you think you could find 10–20 of your friends to do the same?
Now, all of a sudden, you’ve become a bundler raising $1,000-$2,000 or more, which is a lot for these state legislative candidates. And if all ten of your friends were inspired to the same, and some of their friends were also motivated, you’ve just made a sizeable investment in a state legislative campaign.
Our fundraising champions play a critical role in raising much-needed dollars for our endorsed candidates. In Virginia in 2017, our 20 fundraising champions supported 14 candidates in must-win districts, sending 11 elected officials to Richmond to drive forward a new progressive future. Democrats picked up a record-breaking 15 seats and fundamentally changed the balance of power in the Virginia legislature, cutting the Republican majority from 34–66 to 49–51.
That’s how we beat big money. With your help. Every step of the way, we provide advice, guidance, and the tools you need to succeed.
Sign up today to help us help Democratic state legislative candidates in the most competitive districts across the country.