Identifying the Sister District 2020 Last Chance States

6 mins read

Friends, 2020 is upon us, and we are thrilled to announce our 2020 state targets and political strategy. This is the year for us to leave it all on the field: in addition to momentous Presidential and Senate elections, this is our very last chance to build progressive power in state legislatures ahead of redistricting. The results of this year’s election will reverberate for a whole decade to come.

At Sister District, we are ready to roll. We have identified the states with the biggest opportunities for progressive change at the state legislative level. And the states where we will be working each also have broader electoral opportunities this year: competitive congressional and/or Senate races, in important presidential battlegrounds. Our work to elevate state legislative candidates will drive awareness and turnout up and down the ticket in the places that matter most in this historic election year.

Same Strategy, With Some Weighted Factors This Year

Our general political strategy remains the same. Each year, we’re looking for state legislative chambers that fall within three categories: 1) Blue Flips, which we believe Democrats can flip blue this year; 2) Blue Holds, where Democrats have a fragile majority that is in immediate jeopardy of flipping red; and 3) Blue Inroads, where we likely cannot immediately flip a chamber blue, but where we must build progressive power to position ourselves for future success.

This year, we’ve taken two additional factors into account in our strategic selection process. To take into account the gravity and urgency of impeding redistricting and our need to fight back against Republican gerrymandering, we’re heavily weighting our efforts in 2020 toward chambers that provide Democrats with a ‘last chance’ to build majorities and power ahead of the next round of redistricting, in states where the legislature draws district lines.

Second, we are weighting our state selections towards those states with the biggest chance of flipping the Electoral College toward the Democratic presidential nominee (including all of the “big four” battleground states most likely to decide the election, which are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida), and where there are critical Senate and congressional races.

Our efforts to drive awareness, resources, and turnout toward state legislative races nested in these federal and presidential battlegrounds will force-multiply up and down the ticket.

The States

Blue Flips:

  • Minnesota Senate
  • Texas Senate & House
  • North Carolina Senate & House
  • Pennsylvania Senate & House
  • Michigan House
  • Arizona Senate & House

Blue Hold States:

  • Colorado Senate

Blue Inroads States:

  • Wisconsin Assembly (House)
  • Georgia Senate & House
  • Florida Senate & House

While we may not ultimately endorse candidates in all of the chambers listed above, we will endorse in all of these states.

The one exception is Colorado, where we are not currently planning to endorse, but we are monitoring the situation closely. Here’s the deal: In 2018, we helped Democrats to win a fragile 2-seat majority in the Colorado Senate. Since then, the GOP has been relentless in its quests to recall Democratic State Senators and try to recapture power by any crooked means necessary. So far, Democrats have fended off the GOP’s tactics.

Given the current situation, we think our resources are most strategically directed to other more urgent needs. But Republicans’ baseless recall efforts suggest they might make an even bigger play later this year. We’re watching closely and, if we see that we need to jump in to defend Colorado’s blue trifecta, we can and will.

Endorsements & What’s Next

Right now, we are building relationships and listening to partners on the ground in each of our 2020 states, carefully watching candidate filing deadlines, and getting our endorsement process going. Candidate recruitment has been extremely promising this year—it is exciting to see that so many women, candidates of color, and other candidates from diverse communities and backgrounds are stepping up to run for state legislature all across the country. By supporting non-traditional candidates we can build a reflective democracy that includes a broad chorus of American voices. Read more about our candidate selection process.

We plan to announce our first wave of endorsements in early April, with a second wave of endorsements in June.

We have the opportunity for 2020 to be a banner year for American democracy, up and down the ticket, from coast to coast. But we will only win if we work together to organize smartly, welcome new voters into the electoral process, and execute strong voter turnout programs.

Now is the time to organize, and to spend your time and resources where you can have the biggest impact. Join us – all are welcome in the fight of our lives.

Check out our 2020 states page to dive into this year’s targets.

Leftward,
Gaby


DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.


Gaby Goldstein is Co-Founder and Political Director at Sister District Project, and Director of Research at Sister District Action Network. Sister District’s mission is to build Democratic majorities in state legislatures, raise awareness about the importance of state legislatures, and facilitate progressive policy transfer between legislators and states.

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