For the Week of 1/26/2018
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:
This week, the judicial system dealt another blow to ongoing Republican gerrymandering efforts – this time in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania. The state’s Supreme Court ruled that congressional district maps – some of the most gerrymandered in the country – were unconstitutional, and called for new, fair maps to be drawn before Presidents’ Day. Just how gerrymandered were the Republican-drawn maps? In 2012, Democratic candidates won a majority of the votes in US House elections and President Obama won the state, but Republicans somehow walked away with 13 of 18 House seats. Balancing the terrain could give Democrats a fighting chance at four more US House seats in 2018, and with help from resigning and retiring Congressional Republicans, Pennsylvania could contribute a major number of Democratic pick-ups on the way to a House majority. The DLCC is already on the ground in Pennsylvania, working to elect more Democrats to the statehouse ahead of critical 2020 redistricting. With a special election win under our belt, we are already building momentum in this crucial state.
Another week, another special election victory for state Democrats. Representative-elect Austin Davis, a lifelong McKeesport resident and Vice-Chair of the Alleghany County Democratic Committee, carried the special election for Pennsylvania HD-35, winning nearly 75% of the vote. Davis outperformed Hillary Clinton’s 2016 returns, as well as those of the incumbent Democrat he succeeds, by double digits. Davis will help state Democrats advance a progressive agenda in the state and nationally, as the Pennsylvania General Assembly gears up to retool the state’s congressional maps. “With recent court decisions deeming Pennsylvania’s congressional maps unconstitutional, it is critical that we build Democratic strength in the Pennsylvania General Assembly ahead of 2020 redistricting,” says DLCC Executive Director Jessica Post.
Not every Democrat in the country can run against Donald Trump, but every Democrat can fight back against his agenda. Since Donald Trump’s inauguration, enthused Democrats have been turning out in droves to support state Democrats in legislative elections. What’s more, many Democrats are taking a stand and running for office – especially Democratic women. In Virginia, 11 of the 15 seats flipped from red to blue in the November elections were flipped by Democratic women – and they all replaced Republican men. Of the 34 seats that flipped from red to blue in contested legislative election, 22 districts were flipped by Democratic women, like Sen.-elect Patty Schachtner, who will use her position to fight back in Wisconsin, where Governor Scott Walker and legislative Republicans have promoted the Trump agenda. The DLCC is proud to support Sen.-elect Schachtner and state Democrats as they lead the resistance and fight against the extremist right-wing machine. We look forward to electing more state Democrats nationwide in 2018 as we strengthen our blue wall ahead of 2020 redistricting.
Since Republicans were swept into office in 2010 and gerrymandered themselves into a decade of power, we have seen a historic rollback of women’s reproductive rights and severe restrictions on health care services. According to the Guttmacher Institute, there have been 401 new restrictions on abortion passed in state legislatures since 2011, enacted by Republican legislators with no medical or science credentials – and they’re not slowing down. Determined to correct the course on women’s health issues, and a host of other issues, thousands of women across the country are standing up for their rights and running for office. The DLCC stands with these women, and with the $35 million in resources we plan to expend support of state Democrats in the next cycle, the DLCC is partnering with organizations like EMILY’s List, Run For Something, Emerge American, and more, to recruit and train Democratic women. By electing more Democrats to state legislatures nationwide, we can end Republicans’ war on women and reproductive freedom. And we’ve already started – since Trump’s inauguration, the DLCC has flipped 34 seats from red to blue in contested legislative elections, 22 of which were flipped by Democratic women. The DLCC is proud of our candidates and we look forward to bringing the fight to Republicans in 2018.
After the DLCC helped Senator Manka Dhingra flip the Washington State Senate in a critical special election last November, the brand new Democratic majority in the state Senate has brought a major victory for LGBTQ advocates with the passage of a bill to ban conversion therapy. With champions in both chambers of the legislature and in the Governor’s office, LGBTQ children will soon be safe from the detrimental and discredited practice. The Senate bill will likely pass, making Washington the eleventh state to ban conversion therapy. Joining Democratic-led California and Oregon, West Coast kids from the border with Canada to the border with Mexico will no longer live in fear of being punished for who they are. As state Democrats’ blue wall expands protections on the Pacific, the DLCC is working to flip majorities in state legislative chambers throughout the country in the hope of protecting many more at-risk citizens in 2018.
- Democrats Claim Victory In Swing State Legislative Special Election [DLCC Press Release]
- How the GOP Rigs Elections [Rolling Stone]
- What Data Teaches Us About 'The Resistance' [WCNY]
"After the election, I had a mom tell me that her daughter, who is Asian American, opened up the newspaper on Nov. 8 and saw my picture and was just so delighted to know that there’s someone who looked like her in our state government…That story has stayed with me, the impact of that story, just in terms of making sure that our government reflects the diversity of experience and perspective of the people that we serve."
Representation matters. The DLCC is proud to stand with Virginia Del. Kathy Tran, one of the first Asian American women and the first Vietnamese American person elected to Virginia’s state government, as she makes history in her fight to bring underrepresented voices to the table.
2/6/18: ELECTION DAY - Missouri HD-39, HD-97, HD-129, HD-144 Special Elections
2/12/18: ELECTION DAY - Minnesota SD-54, HD-23B Special Elections
2/13/18: ELECTION DAY - Florida HD-72 Special Election