AZ Endorsements: The Deep Dive
EveryDistrict is excited to kick off our 2022 endorsements by announcing eight endorsements in Arizona today. Click here to learn more about the eight candidates we’ve endorsed and how you can get involved to support their campaigns.
With brand new district lines in 2022, the path to the majority has changed significantly. The big headline is this: Arizona is one of the best opportunities Democrats have to flip a legislative chamber blue in 2022.
The Quick History
The Arizona legislature has 30 legislative districts. There is one Senator and two State Representatives elected in each district.
In the State Senate, Democrats hold 14 out of 30 seats. Democrats need to flip one district to tie the chamber and two to flip it. In the State House, Democrats hold 29 out of 60 seats. Democrats need to flip one district to tie the chamber and two to flip it.
A (mostly) fair redistricting process has given Democrats a clear roadmap to build legislative majorities in both chambers. (Click here to read our deep dive on redistricting.) Now, let’s dive into how we build those majorities.
How EveryDistrict Ranks Districts
But first, a quick explainer on how EveryDistrict is ranking districts in 2022.
Those of you who are familiar with our work know that in the past, we have ranked districts using the EveryDistrict Legislative District Index (LDI). The LDI is a numerical score calculated by EveryDistrict using past performance by national and statewide candidates to understand the baseline competitiveness of a legislative district. For example, a district with a score of +10 would, on average, vote for Democrats by 10 points. Put another way, we would expect the average Democratic candidate to win that district with 55% of the vote, with the Republican candidate getting 45%.
In 2022, we are ranking districts in five categories: Likely Democratic, Lean Democratic, Battleground, Lean Republican, and Likely Republican.
Battleground districts are the majority-making districts that we expect to be decided by close margins. With redistricting scrambling district lines, some incumbents who previously represented safer districts now find themselves in a competitive race.
With our 2022 endorsements, EveryDistrict is concentrating our support to Battleground districts, endorsing a mix of incumbents and challengers depending on the districts that will make or break a majority in each chamber.
Click here for our full 2022 Arizona district rankings spreadsheet. Later in the year, we may update district rankings as dynamics shift on the ground.
Building a Majority in the Senate
Democrats currently hold 17 Senate seats. EveryDistrict has ranked 12 Senate districts as Likely Democratic (there are no Lean Democratic districts in Arizona).
Republicans are not running a candidate in seven districts. Among the five contested districts, we are keeping a particular eye on SD 23. SD 23 is a border district where Democrats lost a House seat in 2020 and saw closer margins than in previous elections.
EveryDistrict has ranked 13 Senate seats as Likely Republican (there are no Lean Republican districts in Arizona). We do not expect these districts to be competitive in 2022.
For Democrats to win the majority, they need to hold the 12 Likely Democratic districts and win four of five Battleground districts (winning three would tie the chamber).
To help build a Democratic majority in the Senate, EveryDistrict has endorsed three Senate candidates in Battleground districts: Jeanne Casteen (SD 2), Sen. Christine Marsh (SD 4), and Eva Burch (SD 9). SD 13 – the majority-making seat – has a competitive Democratic primary. We are keeping a close eye on that district for a post-primary endorsement.
Building a Majority in the House
Democrats currently hold 29 House seats. EveryDistrict has ranked 24 House seats as Likely Democratic (there are no Lean Democratic districts in Arizona).
Republicans are not running a candidate in seven districts, creating 14 certain Democratic seats. Among the ten contested seats, we are keeping a particular eye on HD 23, for the same reasoning as outlined above.
EveryDistrict has ranked 26 House seats as Likely Republican (there are no Lean Republican districts in Arizona). We do not expect these districts to be competitive in 2022.
For Democrats to win the majority, they need to hold the 24 Likely Democratic seats and win seven seats among five Battleground districts (winning six would tie the chamber).
Among the five Battleground districts, there are 10 potential seats that Democrats could win. But in four of the five districts, Democrats are pursuing a “single shot” strategy and only running one Democratic candidate. The idea behind this is that this allows voters to split their ticket and vote for the Democratic candidate and one Republican candidate.
So, in the five Battleground districts, there are only six Democratic candidates running.
To help Democrats hold onto the progress they have made since 2016, EveryDistrict has endorsed five House candidates in Battleground districts: Rep. Judy Schwiebert (HD 2), Laura Terech (HD 4), Lorena Austin (HD 9), Seth Blattman (HD 9), and Rep. Jennifer Pawlik (HD 13).
Fundraising in Arizona in 2022
In 2017, EveryDistrict was founded with the idea that the big missing piece to flipping more state legislatures blue was a strategic fundraising strategy. Republicans were dominant in the states, and they also dominated the money game. Special interests made sure Republican legislative candidates were well-funded, while Democrats were massively outspent. If we could help donors identify the districts that we needed to flip and make it easy for those donors to give to Democratic candidates running in those districts, we could flip state legislatures blue.
Thanks to EveryDistrict’s generous donor community, that part of our mission has been a huge success. In 2020, groups like EveryDistrict were so successful in directing small-dollar donors to give to Arizona legislative candidates that we leveled the playing field with Republican special interest money.
So much of a success, in fact, that it has made Arizona Republicans quite angry. Angry enough to pass a law that makes it harder for Arizona legislative candidates to accept all of those small-dollar contributions.
If Democratic legislative candidates in Arizona receive the same volume of small-dollar contributions as they did in the past, campaigns will be spending their time on data entry disclosing those contributions rather than what those contributions are intended for: helping those campaigns reach more voters and make the case of how Democratic leadership in the Arizona legislature will make a difference in their day-to-day lives.
So, we’re doing things differently with our fundraising in Arizona in 2022. Instead of asking our donor community to give directly to our candidates, we’ve created the EveryDistrict Arizona Fund. EveryDistrict’s Arizona Fund means you can still make a donation that will help legislative candidates and partners on the ground working to flip the Arizona legislature blue, without burdening campaigns with data entry. Click here to make a donation today: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/everydistrict-arizona-fund.
Questions? Email Team EveryDistrict at firstname.lastname@example.org.