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Delaware SD10: Anatomy of Victory

Delaware SD10: Anatomy of Victory


TO:               Interested Parties

FROM:         Jessica Post, DLCC Executive Director

RE:               Delaware SD10: Anatomy of Victory

DATE:          February 27, 2017

Democrat Stephanie Hansen’s spectacular win in this weekend’s special election was a tremendous victory for the citizens of Delaware, who will continue to be protected from the regressive policies of Trump’s Republican Party by their state’s Democratic government. However, Sen.-elect Hansen’s victory was also a triumph of DLCC’s successful deployment of strategy and tactics to successfully harness progressive energy and direct an effective campaign operation.

Sen.-elect Hansen’s margin of victory (unofficial totals have her winning over 58% of the vote) belies the real challenges faced by Democrats in this race. Special elections always present turnout obstacles, but a special election on a Saturday in February of an odd year offered a largely unknown landscape in terms of Senate District 10’s electorate. When this district was last on the ballot, the Democrat eked out a 267-vote win. Democrats had a slight registration and historical performance edge in this contest, but producing a victory on a February Saturday was going to be difficult.

But Democrats didn’t just score a victory in Delaware Senate District 10 on Saturday. DLCC’s electoral programs helped produce a turnout rate that far eclipsed the last race in that district in 2014 – a year when both U.S. House and Senate races were also on the ballot here. In a Saturday special election in an off year, Sen.-elect Hansen won over 1,000 more votes than the Democratic candidate garnered in the 2014 general election.

The special election in Delaware Senate District 10 showcased a number of DLCC programmatic strengths. The data below help explain why this win is just the latest of many electoral victories to come for down-ballot Democrats this cycle.

  • Volunteers
    • DLCC used its digital outreach program to help marshal the high level of engagement and energy from Democrats and progressive activists to help recruit the over 1,000 volunteers who gave their time and energy to this contest. On election day alone, 500 volunteers deployed to support GOTV efforts. Some of the new groups that popped up in the wake of the 2016 elections also contributed to volunteer recruitment. However, boots on the ground are only as helpful as the grassroots field effort that deploys them strategically.

  • Field
    • DLCC’s expert field team marshalled the over 1,000 volunteers engaged in the election to knock on nearly 90,000 doors and make over 60,000 phone calls to voters in the district. Over the course of the brief campaign (approximately two months), the candidate, staff, and volunteers had over 21,000 separate conversations with voters. DLCC’s field team worked directly with campaign staff to create and implement this grassroots outreach plan, and we provided the resources to effectively train staff and volunteers to execute it successfully. Without DLCC’s financial and staff support, the campaign could not have hired the field staff required to manage and train 1000+ volunteers and successfully channel the high level of grassroots enthusiasm in this race. 

  • Legislative Majority PAC
    • DLCC supported an independent expenditure operation through Legislative Majority PAC, our affiliated super PAC and IE operation. LMP guided the deployment of targeted TV, radio, mail, and digital communications across the district. The paid communications, legal, and data support facilitated by LMP in support of a robust in-state IE effort helped produce over $500,000 in ads and mail across a variety of platforms. Internal projections demonstrate that Sen.-elect Hansen could well have lost this race without the independent expenditure’s efforts.