Last November, voters across the country sent an undeniable message to Trump and his MAGA followers: we will not back down. Even before the dust settled, it was clear: Democrats achieved momentous victories where it mattered most—at the state level.
Democrats ushered in historic trifectas in Michigan and Minnesota, and flipped the Pennsylvania House. We held fast to legislative majorities in Colorado, Nevada, and Washington, made gains in Arizona and Georgia, and won enough seats to protect the Democratic governors’ veto power in Wisconsin and North Carolina. To be sure, Democrats didn’t sweep everywhere. But with abortion and democracy on the line, voters made their voices heard.
Since our founding in 2016, Sister District has had a laser focus on state legislatures because we understand the outsized impact they have on every issue we care about, from abortion to climate to democracy itself. That’s why we help to win urgent elections each cycle and build Democratic infrastructure for the long term.
This year, Democrats’ wins at the state legislative level were truly historic, bucking trends from at least the last decade during which a President’s party lost no less than 8% of state legislative seats in battleground states each midterm year. Sister District reached out to more than half a million voters through calls, texts, doors, and postcards, including an average of 74% of our candidates’ total calls to voters.
We also raised $1.37m directly for candidates and our community organizing partners. And we maximized these investments by going big and early, raising a median of 14% of our candidates’ total raises, with 84% landing before Labor Day. It worked—34 of our 36 candidates won in 10 states, including 18 candidates with our full suite of support.
Elections have consequences. These wins will result in policies to protect abortion, defend the climate, strengthen the economy, and more to improve people’s lives. You stepped up, and you made this happen.
We look to the future with confidence and clarity. We will continue to flip, hold, and make inroads in key states every year to put us in the best position for redistricting after the 2030 Census, and to drive downballot turnout to win up and down the ticket, including the next presidential race in 2024. And because elections are just one piece of the puzzle, we will also continue to work with our partners and grow our programs to support the candidate pipeline, frontline lawmakers, community-based organizations, research, and narrative change—all to build enduring power in the states.
We have accomplished so much, and have so much more to do. Whether you are a volunteer, donor, candidate, staffer, or thought partner, thank you for being with us.
Co-Founder & Executive Director
“Sister District has incredible ability to build up and amplify state legislative races that too often fall below the radar, despite their critical importance in affecting the issues most of our constituents care about. Sister District helped our campaign break through in a very dense election year, and its effectiveness in helping us fundraise nationally cannot be understated.”
–Michelle Au, Representative from Georgia District 50
of 36 endorsed progressive state legislative candidates (18 full slate candidates and 16 alumni) won
states with endorsed candidates
community-based partner organizations in 6 different states funded through the State Bridges program
of our dollars raised for candidates before Labor Day to help them build strong voter contact programs
active teams and affiliates in 26 states
fellowships for rising star organizers
partner organizations on field, fundraising, research, candidate training and legislator support programming
large-scale studies on voter behavior and broader electoral trends conducted and/or published
raised directly for candidates and powerbuilding organizations
views of our State Power Series virtual events
The fundraising and volunteer phone banking are phenomenally helpful! Because of SDP’s support, I spend a little less time on fundraising phone calls, and I have more time to knock on doors, having conversations with the people in the community. That’s what representation is all about: being responsive to the people.
–Mitzi Epstein, Senator from Arizona District 12
State legislative races are often decided by just a handful of votes. Take a look at some of our slim margins:
Our 2022 Sister District full slate candidate class included:
There are some incredible firsts among our Sister District legislators-elect, including
Representative from Pennsylvania’s House District 30, is the first Indian American elected to the state house and the only physician in the legislature
Representative from Arizona’s House District 9, is the first gender non-conforming Chicanx elected to any state legislature
Senator from Michigan’s Senate District 4, is the first Maltese American elected to the Michigan senate and the youngest current senator.
Senator from Michigan’s Senate District 29, was unanimously elected first female majority leader of the Michigan Senate
The financial support has literally allowed me to launch my campaign and make it viable. I would NOT be in the position to flip the leg in AZ if it weren’t for Sister District! You make it possible for us to change the political landscape to be inclusive and accountable to the people we serve.
–Lorena Austin, Representative from Arizona District 9
Sister District focuses on phonebanking because, other than canvassing, it is the most effective form of voter contact. And it shows—our passionate and expertly-trained phonebanking army made an astonishing average of 74% of our candidates’ total dials this year, freeing up candidates and staff to talk to more voters at the doors. Every conversation strengthens campaigns on the ground.
We also reach out through postcards, doors, and texts with locally resonant and timely messages to help create a “surround sound” effect that mobilizes voters to action.
Total Field Touches
*Includes SDAN programs
Now in its third year, our National Phonebank enabled our 28 partners this year to leverage our best-in-class training and phonebanking operation to drive more calls to voters in key districts. Our 2022 partners included Arena, DLCC, Vote Save America, Human Rights Campaign, Men4Choice, Run for Something, South Asians for America, Swing Left, and more. Special guests including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jonathan Van Ness, Jason Alexander, Dan Pfeiffer, Piper Perabo, and Martina Navratilova brought their passion and star power to boost attendance by as much as 10x per event.
This year, we achieved:
The sweeping state legislative victories this year did not happen overnight—they were the result of many years of work by countless organizers, strategists, donors, and volunteers, working towards common goals. This was Sister District’s second midterm year and third election cycle in several key states, including Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. In these states alone, we have raised almost $2.2 million dollars directly for candidates and community-based partners and reached out to more than 1.1 million voters in support of 56 candidates, contributing to 36 legislative victories over the past 6 years, and playing a critical role in delivering this year’s historic victories.
From all of us at Sister District, thank you for dedicating your time to save our democracy, for believing in our candidates, and for working toward a brighter future. As a grassroots organization, we know we are nothing without your endless support and hard work.
Whether you’ve been here since the beginning, donated a dollar here or there, or joined a phonebank this year-we want to thank you! Thank you for dedicating your time to save our democracy, for believing in our candidates, and for working toward a brighter future. Onward to 2023!