For the Week of 12/15/2017
Democrats in statehouses across the country are fighting to move America forward. In case you missed it, here are some statehouse highlights from this week:
Doug Jones' victory in Alabama this past Tuesday may have been the highest profile special election victory for Democrats this year, but it is far from the only one. In 2017 alone, the DLCC and state Democrats have flipped 33 contested seats from red to blue in legislative elections. Furthermore, state Democrats have been consistently outperforming Hillary Clinton's 2016 vote share and even President Obama's 2012 vote share. As the major player in the state legislative space, the DLCC is proud of the successful programs, critical investments, and strategic actions that led to great victories across the country in 2017. The DLCC's strategic investments in state campaign infrastructure and field operations were instrumental in Democrats' success in Virginia House elections this past November, Senator Manka Dhingra's critical victory to flip the Washington State Senate to Democratic control, and flipping seats in red states like New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Georgia, and more. While we are celebrating our hard-fought wins, we are not taking anything for granted as we work to build on our winning momentum and continue to strengthen and rebuild the Democratic party from the ground up ahead of 2018 midterms and crucial 2020 redistricting.
On Thursday, the Trump administration's FCC's decision to dismantle net neutrality and Obama-era internet protections sparked outrage amongst Americans. As usual, state Democrats are stepping up as our first line of defense and are already fighting back against special interests' bid to rig internet access. In Washington State, Democratic state Rep. Drew Hansen's legislation would undercut the federal panel by requiring internet service providers treat all web traffic equally. Democratic state Sen. Reuven Carlyle, who chairs the Senate’s Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, said he wants lawmakers “to do everything we can” to keep net neutrality laws in place for people in Washington state and Democratic Governor Jay Inslee is on the side of net neutrality as well. With newly sworn-in Democratic state Sen. Manka Dhingra giving Washington Democrats a majority in the state Senate, Democrats lead all three levels of state government in Washington State and are already taking this responsibility seriously by introducing laws to protect voting rights, protect women's health care, safeguard the climate, and more. With the FCC attempting to usurp states' right to make their own regulations, all eyes will be on Washington Democrats as they fight for an equal and open internet for their constituents.
Earlier this year, women took Democratic Virginia elections by storm, making up about 50% of the Democratic slate and ultimately carrying 11 of the 15 districts Democrats flipped from red to blue on November 7. Now women in another southern state are inspired to run for office: in North Carolina, women are standing up for their communities and fighting back against the dysfunction and extremism in Raleigh by putting their names on the ballot. Thanks to gerrymandering, Republicans control both of North Carolina’s legislative chambers and have used their majorities to pass a plethora of controversial (and often unconstitutional) bills that aim to diminish voting rights, health care access, education, and the rights of LGBTQ North Carolinians. However, state Democrats spent Monday announcing nine new candidates – including six women – in their 2018 effort to break Republicans’ veto-proof majority in the state legislature. Just as we saw in Virginia, many of the women who have announced their candidacies are focused on bringing local issues to the forefront rather than the toxic agenda North Carolina Republicans have brought up time and time again. The DLCC looks forward to supporting North Carolina Democrats in 2018 and beyond as we further our mission to win back legislative majorities in statehouses across the country.
Since the nomination and subsequent election of Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party has been in the throws of an identity crisis, damaging itself and its members' electability in the process. With the RNC and establishment Republicans throwing their support behind an alleged pedophile, to standing by Trump as he tried to repeatedly institute a travel ban, to Republicans' unbridled determination to block access to quality health care for millions of Americans while giving tax cuts to the wealthy, it's no wonder the President's approval ratings are at a historic low and voters turned out in droves to send Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate. Add to that the fact that state Democrats have flipped 33 contested seats from red to blue in 2017 alone - it's no wonder Republicans up and down the ballot are shaking in their boots ahead of 2018. With consequential 2020 redistricting on the horizon, the DLCC is ready and eager to build on our winning momentum: we are a mere 13 seats away from flipping seven chambers to Democratic control. As the authority on state legislative elections, the DLCC will continue fight to regain legislative majorities nationwide and strengthen and rebuild the Democratic party from the ground up ahead of 2018 midterms and crucial 2020 redistricting
On Tuesday night, Iowa Democrat Dr. Todd Wendt came within striking distance of flipping one of the most Republican districts in the state. In Iowa’s Senate District 3, where Donald Trump was favored over Hillary Clinton by 41 points, Dr. Todd Wendt was able to win 45.5% of the vote; he was only 603 votes short of flipping the district from red to blue. Although he came up short, he garnered the highest percentage of votes by any Democratic candidate running for the seat since at least 2002. Dr. Wendt's hard work and commitment to local issues resonated with voters and proved that if you focus on local issues and listen to the community, there is no such thing as a safe Republican district.
- The DLCC's 2018 Roadmap [The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee]
- How Republicans are experiencing 2010 in reverse [POLITICO]
"I think people should know that Cora is really incredibly brave…Her journey to elected office was not in any way easy. It was very fraught with a lot of regional challenges, but she stayed focused. She kept her eye on the prize, and in her estimation, the prize was that Ferguson would not only have a strong voice and a committed voice in our state legislature, but a voice of truth. [Walker is] a black woman in elected office in a state where progressives are in the minority. She is in the minority in multiple ways in the State House, but she manages to stay true to why she decided to run in the first place."
- Activist and educator Brittany Packnett tells reporter Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy, in talking about Missouri state Rep. Cora Faith Walker
Ferguson, MO state Rep. Cora Faith Walker is one of only three women of color currently serving in the Missouri Legislature. She is also "a beacon of hope to anyone who believes that women, and particularly women of color, will be playing a much greater role in politics in the years to come." A tireless crusader for health care rights and an advocate for marginalized communities, Rep. Walker is a paragon for what it means to step up and fight for progress and solutions to issues that have impacted your life and the lives of your neighbors. The DLCC is proud to stand with Rep. Walker and lift up her voice as she lifts up the voice of her constituents.
1/9/18: ELECTION DAY - Connecticut HD-15 Special Election
1/16/18: ELECTION DAY - Wisconsin SD-10, AD-58, AD-66 Special Elections
1/23/18: ELECTION DAY - Pennsylvania HD-35 Special Election
2/12/18: ELECTION DAY - Minnesota SD-54, HD-23B Special Elections