Make your impact with Impact Slates

In Part II of our Purple State series, we looked at the 112 Priority Districts identified in our Purple States Report. In Part III below, we take a closer look at the dollars we need to raise to win and how we’re making the necessary investments in Virginia and Mississippi this year.

For the cost of an ill-fated presidential campaign, we can remake this country. You can begin to make a dent by donating to Impact Slates of the candidates who will remake Virginia and Mississippi this year.

Fundraising is the foundation of a campaign. And while millions flow to priority US Senate and House races across the country, Democratic state legislative candidates still struggle to get the dollars they need to run a professional campaign. Candidates running in competitive state legislative districts have to raise enough to ensure their message reaches voters. This means hiring staff, investing in mailers and digital advertising, and building the infrastructure for volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls.

Too often, those dollars get there too late or not at all. Over the past decade, Democrats failed to invest in the states – and it showed. We lost over 1,000 state legislative seats during the Obama years, and Democratic control of the states fell to a historic low in 2016: Democrats controlled 29 chambers to Republicans’ 68. 

The good news is that Democrats have done a better job of investing in state legislative campaigns over the past two years. Democrats have netted over 300 seats and now control 37 chambers to Republicans’ 61. 

The bad news is that this still hasn’t been enough to fundamentally transform the balance of power in the states. But our Purple States Project, launched at the beginning of September, lays out exactly what Democrats need to do over the next 15 months to win back the states.

In the report we identify 251 districts – including 112 Priority Districts – that Democrats can win by 2020. To fund all 251 districts, we’ll need $58 million at minimum. To fund the 112 Priority Districts, we’ll need “only” $30 million, significantly less than what some of the Democratic nominees for president have already raised. We’re working to raise $1.1 million between now and November 2020 to get candidates the resources they need to compete. 

Why does this matter right now?

We’re just over one month away from Election Day 2019, when we have an opportunity to make key gains in two states: Virginia and Mississippi. In Virginia, Democrats need to flip just four seats to flip the legislature. Our data analysis shows that Democrats can flip as many as 18 seats – with the right investment. Democrats are currently trailing Republicans in the money race by $1.5 million. 

In Mississippi, Democrats can break GOP supermajorities by flipping just six seats. This matters because budget bills require a supermajority to pass, so breaking the supermajority would give Democrats significant leverage in determining how Mississippi spends its money, changing the conversation on issues like education funding and Medicaid expansion. Mississippi has some of the cheapest costs for a state legislative race in the country; you can run a competitive campaign with $50,000. But our candidates still need your help to meet their fundraising goals. 

Enter Impact Slates. Impact Slates is a new EveryDistrict project in line with our model of making it easy for you to find and donate to candidates running in the most competitive state legislative districts. We’ve grouped slates of candidates running in Virginia and Mississippi to show how you can have an impact on key issues in these states by donating to support these candidates. Click here to find your Impact Slate and donate to support candidates who need your help in the final month before Election Day.

Whether or not we can close the gap in Virginia and Mississippi will have a huge difference in the results we see on Election Day. In June we released the results of our 2018 candidate survey, and the impact fundraising had on competitive state legislative races was clear. In 2018, our successful candidates were outraised on average by $20,000. Our unsuccessful candidates were outraised by $250,000. Closing the gap with Republicans will have a major impact on the direction of this country. There’s still time to make your impact. Donate today and make sure these campaigns finish strong in November.