Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

The Friday Five - October 26, 2018

The Friday Five - October 26, 2018

For the Week of 10/26/2018

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:

1.    Democrats suddenly look strong again in the Midwest

With less than two weeks left before the midterms, state Democrats across the country are laser-focused on turning out voters on Election Day. Democrats have the most candidates running for state legislature since 1982, a tribute to the energy felt by those frustrated with the divisive rhetoric of President Trump and GOP-controlled Congress in Washington. Controlling the state legislature gives a party more sway during redistricting, and it also drives policies on critical issues such as health care, education funding, gun safety, and voting rights. We’re just 17 seats away from flipping eight chambers, including several in the Midwest, and Democrats are ready to change the face of power in statehouses across the country.

2.    First day of early voting in Dallas County tops first day in 2016 — a presidential election year

If the enthusiasm in Texas is any indication, the voting turnout this election cycle could be record breaking. Voters lined up in Dallas and other parts of Texas well before the polls had opened, eager to cast their vote in one of the most important midterm elections of our time. There is an impressive array of Democratic candidates running in Texas for the state legislature, including Rhetta Bowers who is fighting for gender equality in Texas. In every state, now is the time to vote, to drive a friend to the polls, and to knock on doors in order to make every vote count.

3.    Meet the AP biology teacher who could flip the New York Senate

John Mannion, AP biology teacher and Democratic candidate for New York SD-50, wants to shift the balance of power at the statehouse in Albany -- and his victory could make all the difference. A father of three, Mannion is competing for an open New York State Senate seat that has been in Republican hands for half a century, even though the district went decisively for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. He joins the hundreds of current and retired educators across the country who have tossed their hats into state-level races this year, flexing their political muscle after an unprecedented series of strikes in West Virginia, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Arizona. With Democrats only one seat away from flipping the New York state Senate to Democratic control, the DLCC is committed to helping New York Democrats regain leadership in the chamber this fall.

4.    This map shows where statehouse battleground campaigns are playing out

In 46 states, voters this year will choose some 6,066 state legislative seats that are up for regular elections — about 82 percent of all statehouse seats. The DLCC and state Democrats are running more than 5,300 candidates for those seats this year, including 2,300 women and more than 1,100 candidates of color. With redistricting on the horizon in 2021, there is a lot at stake in these elections. State legislators in 37 states will be holding the pen to redraw state and Congressional district lines, and 800 seats that are elected this fall will be for four-year terms. While millions have already voted early, we have just 11 days left to knock on more doors, make phone calls, send texts, and talk to all of our friends and neighbors about making a plan to vote. We need a lot of people power and shoe leather to help Democrats win big.

5.   Ballot initiatives buck legislatures in GOP-leaning states

As GOP-controlled state legislatures suppress local support for popular policy initiatives, citizens and activists have bypassed them in order to let the voice of the people be heard through ballot initiatives. Voters in several Republican-dominated states such as Florida, Michigan, Missouri, and Montana will have the opportunity to weigh in on issues such as raising the minimum wage, expanding Medicaid, and creating fair voting maps. These ballot measures have the ability to drive out progressive voters in conservative areas who often feel they are underrepresented in their state government.

- Which state legislatures might go blue this fall [The Washington Post]
Republicans Control the Poorest States, Democrats Control States With Highest Earners: Report [The Root]
- Numerous Life Scientists Seek Election to State Legislatures [The Scientist]

“I approach [voters] as somebody who is living in the same place they’re living in, and who has to deal with the same problems they have to deal with. Whether you’re in Sedona or Snowflake, people want their children to be able to go to quality public schools, people want access to quality and affordable health care, people want our teachers to be paid a fair wage, and people don’t want to see their water poisoned."
-- Wade Carlisle, candidate for AZ SD-06

Arizona Democrats are energized and ready for change ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The state has reported that for every two people who have registered as Republicans, three have registered as Democrats. In the August primary, Democrats cast nearly 150,000 more votes than in the 2016 primary, shattering voter turnout records. With majorities in both legislative chambers on the line this November, this uptick in Democratic enthusiasm bodes well for activists and new leaders ready to bring change to Phoenix. In just under two weeks, Arizonans will be able to reclaim their voice in the state capital by electing strong candidates who will fight to fully fund public education, expand access to affordable and quality health care, and make sure teachers are paid a fair wage. The DLCC is committed to helping Arizona Democrats regain legislative majorities by electing Spotlight Candidates such as Wade Carlisle, Christine Marsh, Felicia French, Bobby Tyler, Sean Bowie, and Steve Weichert.

Early Voting is ALREADY HAPPENING in these states: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, FL, GA, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, ME, MD, MA, MN, MT, NE, NV, NJ, NC, OH, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WY