At Sister District, our closing argument heading into the 2022 election was clear and consistent—get off the ‘pollercoaster’ and do the work. We urged folks to take heart in the fact that it is historic and unusual for the President’s party to be so close in midterm polls, and see it as a great opportunity for victory. As long-time strategist Mike Podhorzer likes to say about close polls, don’t think of them as within the ‘margin of error’—think of them as within the ‘margin of effort.’ This means election outcomes are not predetermined, and it would come down to which side talked to and turned out more voters.

Our volunteers heeded the call. In community with other grassroots volunteers, activists, year-round powerbuilding partners and others who care deeply about freedom and democracy, we came together to pour ourselves into voter contact, trust the process, and build that vision of progressive power in our states.

It worked. What materialized last night, and is continuing to come to light, is that Democrats did something extremely special in state legislatures across the country: they largely held the line and even made gains in most battleground state legislative chambers. Voters rejected MAGA extremists and Big Liars, the evisceration of abortion access, the criminality of January 6th, and the threats to our democracy. And with these issues increasingly decided by state legislatures, we achieved our wins exactly where we needed to. 

Going in, downballot Democrats faced headwinds. Our research on surge and decline found that the president’s party lost 8.17% to 26.51% of their state legislative seats in the past 20 years in battleground states. But we also saw opportunity, because our research on legislative vote margins found that state legislative races and entire chambers are often decided by a tiny margin of votes

We knew Democrats would have to work hard to defy the odds—but that majorities were not out of reach. Remember, Sister District has been working to build power in most of these state chambers for three cycles—endorsing and driving support to candidates in 2018, 2020, and now 2022. We took a long view in these states. And this year, we knew there was reason to hope. If we left it all on the field, we could flip seats and even chambers. And we did. 

Race results and final numbers will continue to come in as ballots are counted. While we wait for more returns, here is some early information about Sister District’s 2022 field and fundraising efforts and election outcomes. All information is of 4:04 pm ET on November 9, 2022, unless otherwise noted.

Landscape Results

As of now, Democrats have secured new trifectas in Michigan, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Maryland (great night for states starting with M!). We have held legislative majorities in Colorado, Washington, New Mexico, and Maine, and won enough seats to protect the Democratic governors’ vetoes in Wisconsin and North Carolina. And we are on track to flip the Pennsylvania house. 

Sister District Candidate Election Results

Wins: Michelle Au, Sydney Batch, Deb Butler, Darrin Camilleri, Jasmine Clark, Johanny Freytiz-Cepeda, Rachel Hood, Tip McGuire, Lee Snodgrass, Arvind Venkat, Dan Williams, Faith Winter, Deb Andraca, Winnie Brinks, Maria Collet, Nancy Guenst, Liz Hanbidge, Ann Johnson, Sean McCann, Christine Morse, Katie Muth, Shea Roberts, Robyn Vining

Losses: Ricky Hurtado

Not yet called: Lorena Austin, Eva Burch, Melissa Cerrato, Mitzi Epstein, Brian Fernandez, Brittney Miller, Daniele Monroe-Moreno, Emily Randall, Judy Schwiebert, Melissa Shusterman, Claire Wilson, Brian Farkas

So far, we have won 11 of 18 full slate races (with 7 races outstanding). We’ve won 12 out of 18 alumni races (with 4 outstanding and 2 losses)

Close Races and Tiny Margins

As always, Sister District candidates ran in some of the most competitive races in their chambers.

-Sydney Batch (NC State Senate District 17): won with 51.55% of the vote

-Jasmine Clark (GA House District 108): won with 52.10% of the vote (898 votes)

-Lorena Austin (AZ Legislative District 9): ahead by 2.70% of the vote

-Brittney Miller (NV Assembly District 5): ahead by 3.87% of the vote (761 votes)

-Melissa Cerrato (PA House District 151): behind by 0.08% (26 votes)

SDP Volunteers Did Massive Voter Outreach + Fundraising 

Our incredible Sister District volunteers put in the work for our candidates.

Fundraising

  • We raised $1.3 million from 70,133 donations for candidates and community-based partners, making 2022 our second-highest fundraising year ever.
  • We maximized our impact and helped build strong campaigns with 84% of our dollars raised for candidates before September 1.

Field

  • We reached out to more than half a million voters through calls, doors, texts, and postcards.
  • We made a jaw-dropping 78% of our candidates’ calls to voters on average.
  • Our volunteers made almost 470,000 calls to voters, a 193% increase over 2018. 
  • Local volunteers and Sister District staff hosted 697 phonebank events, many of which featured special guests Julia Louis Dreyfus, Jason Alexander, Jonathan Van Ness, boosting attendance by as much as 10x.
  • We collaborated with over 25 state and local partners for our National Phonebank series, force-multiplying our efforts across the ecosystem.

Campaign services

  • We completed over 50 campaign services projects, providing individualized support to our candidates and their staff on field, finance, paid media, mail, rapid response communications, and more.

Field & Fundraising Toplines

Our 2022 field and fundraising went to some of the tightest races, but it also went to support a diverse group of candidates:

  • % of fundraising that went to women and gender minorities: 70.97%
  • % of fundraising that went to candidates of color: 62.78% (22.01% increase over 2018, 12.75% over 2020)
  • % of fundraising that went to LGBTQ+ candidates: 12.97% 
  • % of field touches made for female and gender minority candidates: 65.49%
  • % of early dollars to female and gender minority candidates: 70.30%
  • % of early dollars for candidates of color: 63.20%
  • % of early phone calls made for female and gender minority candidates: 58.24%
  • % of early phone calls made for candidates of color: 61.89%

Individual Campaign Highlights: Outsized Impact

Here are a few examples of our outsized impact in tight winning races.

Dan Williams (Pennsylvania House District 74) — win margin: 1,611 votes:

    • Sister District provided: 55.49% total campaign fundraising; 87.44% total campaign volunteer phonebank calls (and successfully talked to 1,718 voters in William’s district – more than the win margin), including 87.06% of early calls to voters (before 9/1).

Sydney Batch (North Carolina Senate District 17) — win margin: 4,533 votes:

    • Sister District provided: 3.96% total campaign fundraising; 78.32% total campaign volunteer phonebank calls, including 81.01% of early calls to voters (before 9/1).

Tip McGuire (Wisconsin Assembly District 64) — win margin: 3,075 votes:

    • Sister District provided: nearly $42,000 and 64.21% total campaign volunteer phonebank calls.

Johanny Cepeda-Freytiz (Pennsylvania House District 129) — win margin: 2,760 votes:

    • Sister District provided: 13.51% total campaign fundraising; 53.35% total campaign volunteer phonebank calls.

Darrin Camilleri (Michigan Senate District 4) — win margin: 12,430 votes:

    • Sister District provided: 10.90% total campaign fundraising; 43.12% total campaign volunteer phonebank calls.

Deb Butler (North Carolina House District 18) — win margin: 2,187 votes:

    • Sister District provided: 13.59% total campaign fundraising; 96.25% total campaign volunteer phonebank calls.

Early Support Made a Huge Difference

Sister District volunteers contributed a lot of time and money to early (pre-September 1) field and fundraising, resulting in an influx of support to our candidates during a critical time:

  • 172,294 early phone calls (75.25% of candidates’ early phone calls on average)
  • $894,614 early dollars (20.49% of candidates’ total early money)
  • $522,856 small dollar donations (less than $100)

Sister District Class of 2022

Quick stats regarding our 2022 Sister District candidate class:

72.22% women and gender minorities 

61.11% candidates of color (29.11% increase from 2018, 13.61% increase from 2020)

16.67% LGBTQIA+ candidates 

State Legislative Firsts

There are some incredible firsts among our Sister District legislators-elect. These include:

Dr. Arvind Venkat (Pennsylvania House District 30) is the first South Asian Representative in the Pennsylvania House and the only physician in the legislature

Johanny Cepeda-Fretiz (Pennsylvania House District 129) is the first Latina, Democrat, and woman to serve her district; as well as the first Latina to sit in the state legislature in Harrisburg

Ann Johnson (Texas House District 134) is the first openly LGBTQ+ representative re-elected in her district

We will have more analysis, including observations about broader electoral trends and the future of state legislative power-building soon. But one thing is for sure: Sister District volunteers left it all on the field in support of these worthy candidates this year, and contributed mightily to these momentous successes!