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DLCC Reaffirms Plan to Win Statehouse Majorities at 2017 Annual Meeting

DLCC Reaffirms Plan to Win Statehouse Majorities at 2017 Annual Meeting

 

TO:               Interested Parties
FROM:         Jessica Post, DLCC Executive Director
RE:               DLCC Reaffirms Plan to Win Statehouse Majorities at 2017 Annual Meeting
DATE:          July 17, 2016

On July 12 – 14, America’s Democratic state legislators gathered for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) Annual Meeting to strategize on the upcoming election cycle. DLCC celebrated the party’s string of legislative special election victories and shared its plans to build on this momentum heading into 2017 and 2018 elections.

Since Trump’s inauguration, state Democrats have flipped four seats from red to blue and have overperformed in almost every legislative special election. Democratic enthusiasm to fight back against Trump and the GOP’s out of touch policies is at an all-time high, and DLCC is channeling this energy where it will have the most impact: in statehouses nationwide. With 2020 redistricting on the horizon and American values on the line, DLCC’s 2017 Annual Meeting was its largest yet, and the Committee reaffirmed its place as the hub of statehouse action and dedication to rebuilding the Democratic Party from the ground up.

DLCC is working with legislative leaders on the ground to effectively arm Democrats with the tools and resources needed to build lasting state infrastructure, communicate effectively, and win elections to secure Democrats’ place at the table for 2020 redistricting. Following significant programmatic, staff, and capacity expansions, DLCC is prepared to expand Democratic power in statehouses and flip legislative chambers in the upcoming cycles:

  • DLCC’s 2017 fundraising levels have already surpassed the amount of total funds raised in all of 2015, the last “off-year.” This increase in enthusiasm from the grassroots community and a spike in low-dollar online contributions is fueling DLCC programs and translating directly into statehouse wins.
     
  • Already in 2017, DLCC’s Grassroots Victory Program was instrumental in Stephanie Hansen’s victory in the Delaware state Senate special election; over 125,000 doors were knocked and over 50,000 calls were made. DLCC has deployed GVP-trained staff for the 2017 Virginia House of Delegates elections, and will expand the program heading into 2018 to incorporate both staff and candidates in 60 trainings around the country. DLCC expects to train over 500 staffers to recruit 600,000 volunteers, resulting in over 20 million voter contact attempts nationwide.
    • This comes on the heels of DLCC ending Republican majority control in four legislative chambers in 2016. The wildly successful field program accounted for over 15 million doors knocked and phones called in 2016. DLCC held 36 separate GVP organizer trainings to train 414 field staff working in 22 states, and 70 state legislative candidates with GVP-trained staff won their races by 1,000 votes or less.

  • The Combine is DLCC’s recruitment table used to coordinate efforts from across the progressive community to identify and recruit talented legislative candidates in states across the country. By working with state caucus leaders to diagnose and remedy gaps in local recruiting infrastructure and practices, DLCC is uniquely positioned to bring the needs and voices of states into the national conversation. DLCC will reconvene The Combine for its second meeting later this month, with organizations like EMILY’s List, Run For Something, America Votes, and more in attendance.
    • Already, DLCC has partnered with state house leaders to advance a slate of strong candidates in New Jersey and Virginia, recruiting candidates that will advance Democratic priorities like expanding health care access, protecting voting rights, ensuring a quality public education for all children, and more. Virginia Democrats are now running the largest and most diverse slate of Democrats in decades, with talented community leaders stepping up to challenge Republican incumbents in 56 of the 66 GOP-held districts.
       
  • Legislative Majority PAC is DLCC’s independent expenditure operation. LMP makes direct investment to state IE programs as well as running its own paid communications in targeted races. Following its success in 2016, when LMP investments helped Democrats flip chambers in Nevada and New Mexico, the program has expanded in 2017 to play a lead role in competitive special elections across the country. Key investments in legislative special elections in Delaware and New Hampshire secured Democratic victories. LMP is actively engaged in upcoming special elections in Washington, New Hampshire, and beyond, and the work will inform strategic and tactical insights moving into the critical 2018 cycle.
     
  • SCOUT is DLCC’s data program and provides state Democrats with the most accurate, actionable data to assist with target development, campaign strategy, and long term planning. Armed with the best state-level data available and on the ground intelligence from legislative and community leaders, DLCC’s state programs are effective and unique to the state’s needs and goals.
  • Earlier this year DLCC added three new senior staffers, two new departments, and additional team members ahead of the crucial 2018 cycle. Ivan Cheung, who most recently served as digital director on Katie McGinty’s 2016 U.S. Senate campaign, will lead the DLCC’s expanded digital department. Tara Brosnan joined DLCC as Director of its new Data Department after working as data director for the Nevada State Democratic Party during the 2016 presidential caucuses. Anjan Mukherjee is jumpstarting DLCC’s new Research Department after serving in a similar capacity at the League of Conservation Voters. Talented and experienced team members have also been added to DLCC’s political and fundraising departments, and are already providing state Democrats with the capacity and support needed to win legislative chamber majorities and build Democratic power across the country ahead of 2020 redistricting. Our staff’s unrivaled access to on the ground political intelligence, actionable data, and resources helps states to build candidate recruitment, digital, and fundraising infrastructure.

Using our improved programs, expanded capacity, and lessons learned from previous cycles, DLCC is strategically positioning state Democrats for success in upcoming elections in preparation for 2020 redistricting. Through Advantage 2020, the DLCC is taking a multi-cycle strategic approach in several states like Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where increasing Democratic representation ahead of post-2020 redistricting is crucial.

The direct connection between statehouses — where these maps are drawn — and the outcomes of our national elections couldn’t be more clear. In all, state legislatures draw more than three-quarters of America’s congressional districts. In 2012, Democratic congressional candidates won nearly a million and a half more votes than Republicans, yet Republicans won more seats in the U.S. House. This happened because Republican-majority legislatures drew hundreds of our nation’s congressional districts in 2011, and they used that power to tilt the playing field in favor of GOP candidates in grotesquely-gerrymandered districts. The impact was even worse at the state level, where Republican legislators drew their own districts to minimize minority voters’ influence and shield themselves from accountability. Republican gerrymandering is directly responsible for the U.S. House’s disastrous health care agenda, and many of the extremist policies passed in GOP-controlled states.

Many of these Republican-drawn maps have already been struck down as unconstitutional in courts across the United States. The Republican Party has demonstrated that they care more about holding on to power than the will of the voters. Winning Democratic majorities in the states is the only sure way to prevent GOP gerrymandering and restore balance to our districts.

DLCC is using its preeminence in the state legislative space to equip Democrats with the tools needed to win the redistricting battle. Coming out of our successful 2017 Annual Meeting, DLCC is prepared to lead our state partners on the ground and our progressive allies in the fight to protect our democracy and our nation’s values.

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