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2020-12-19 Political Director Dispatch

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HQ Liaisons,

This is it, our last Dispatch of the year! Congrats again on your incredible work this year, for candidates and causes up and down the ballot. I hope you are all able to unplug and unwind a bit in the holiday season ahead. There’s still much work to be done, and I look forward to continuing it together.

I hope this Dispatch is useful! As always, let me know if you have thoughts or feedback.

Many thanks,



  1. Impact Report – First Week of January
  2. 2021-2022 Sister District Strategy – Second Week of January
  3. Post-Election Analysis Resources
  4. Dr. Mallory Roman’s Presentation on 2020 State Legislative Data
  5. Next Political Director Call – January 12 at 5 pm PT / 8 pm ET
  6. Quick Summit Feedback Requested


As we do each year, we’ll be releasing our 2020 Impact Report in early January. It’s a pretty incredible document that demonstrates just how amazing the work you all did this year really was. The sections look at our work this year, and comparatively over time since our founding, in the areas of Field & Fundraising, Electoral Successes & Impact; Team Growth; and Sister District Action Network (SDAN) Programs. The purpose of the Impact Report is to give our members and stakeholders an in-depth understanding of what we all did, and why it mattered. I hope the report will be useful to you as a tool as you communicate with your teams and volunteers about our collective work and its outsized impact.


We will be releasing our 2021-2022 Sister District Strategy in January as well. Similar to 2019-2020, we are crafting our strategy over a two-year time horizon, to maximize the strategic value of our work and to have clear goals to work towards over time. As it always does, our strategy will include both electoral and non-electoral components. We are particularly excited about expanding our non-electoral work in 2021 to complement our electoral work, given the smaller field of state legislative elections in 2021 and the potentially delayed timing of Virginia’s elections due to census data delivery and redistricting.


The 2020 state legislative elections were surprising, and did not deliver all the wins we had hoped. Here are a few Sister District resources that begin to unpack the results. These analyses are largely “just the facts, ma’am”, as we currently only have data indicating the vote totals for candidates. So we can really only address “what” happened, not “why or who.” As I mentioned last night, the voter file will come out in March/April, and at that time we will be able to have more detailed information about who voted. Analyses you’ll see in the media and so forth about the demographics of who voted in 2020 (e.g., 25% of Latinx voters in South Florida went for Biden) are based on exit polls and surveys, which are self-reported data and therefore quite problematic. We’ll be waiting for the voter file to analyze more of the “whys and whos” of this election, though we offer a few preliminary thoughts in the first post below. Here’s what we’ve got for now:

  • 2020 Election Results: Early Analysis – This post includes some of our incredible 2020 Sister District topline field and fundraising numbers and impact. It also includes an analysis of the broader political landscape and election results, including the impact of early/absentee vote, some early thoughts about the impact of gerrymandering, the pandemic, impact on redistricting and the importance of local organizers in the ecosystem.
  • State Legislatures in the 2020 Elections: What Happened? – This post provides a quantitative analysis of three possible groups of explanations that may have contributed to state legislative outcomes: gerrymandering, roll-off/ticket-splitting, and enthusiasm/awareness gap. Note that this analysis aims to describe what happened, but not why the outcomes occurred.
  • Sister District – State Control Over Time. This awesome interactive map, by our fantastic SD NY volunteers Derek Chung and Chad Horner, shows the composition of state legislatures and governorships in all 50 states going back to 2009. We’re currently updating with 2020 data and that should be up soon.


To supplement our post-election resources, SDAN’s Associate Director of Research, Dr. Mallory Roman, provided a presentation last night highlighting key takeaways from our chambers. Slides review the outcomes of the 2020 races in our chambers, consider some explanations for the results, and highlight what this data means for Democrats working in state legislature races moving forward. It is important to note that several factors contributed to the results we saw, even beyond those explored in the deck. The presentation deck can be found here. If you have questions about these materials and data, please feel free to reach out to Mallory at


The next Political Director Call will be Tuesday, January 12 at 5pm PT / 8pm ET. Register here; calls are open to all District Captains and Affiliate leaders; these are not recorded.

If you have any questions about the materials or info above, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me anytime. Thank you so much again for your committed and important work this year! We’re on a long journey together to build progressive power in states, and I hope that you find being in community together to be as inspiring and nourishing as I do. To borrow from a wise woman, onward together!


If you have a minute, please fill out this survey to let us know what you’d like to see at the Sister District Summit on February 6 and 7! Registration coming in a future HQL Update.

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