We fill critical gaps at every point in the political life cycle. Our electoral plan is a cornerstone of our organization’s overall strategy to build enduring power in state legislatures. Our political strategy involves endorsing and supporting candidates in three types of state legislative chambers: blue flips, blue holds, and blue inroads.
In 2023 Sister District will invest heavily in Virginia in targeted purple districts where we plan to make an outsized impact. We will also return to Mississippi and Louisiana, working to make Democratic inroads voter by voter in competitive districts that are strategically important.
Virginia: Flip the House and expand the Democratic Senate majority
Mississippi: Create inroads in competitive districts
Louisiana: Create inroads in competitive districts
Special Elections: Endorse in special state legislative elections when strategically appropriate.
Target States: AZ, GA, MI, NC, PA, WI, NV
Nested Opportunities: Prioritize states with nested competitive Senate, House, and Gubernatorial elections, in Presidential battleground states.
Incumbent Protection: Invest in fragile incumbents. Incumbent protection has always been a key component of our electoral strategy.
In 2022, 83% of the nation’s state legislative seats will be up for grabs.These critical elections will be difficult for Democrats, and our electoral strategy leverages broader electoral opportunities to maximize our impact.
This year, we have weighted our state selections towards:
States with competitive up-ballot races that have critical implications for the future of our democracy in 2022 and 2024. The most competitive state house districts are often in areas that are critical to winning competitive Gubernatorial, Senate, and House seats – driving turnout down the ballot also helps the top of the ticket.
States where redistricting commissions, courts and legislatures have produced fairer maps where Democrats can win this year and over the next decade.
States where Democratic incumbents are in particularly vulnerable positions, where we must stave off Republican supermajorities in battlegrounds states.
Down-ballot Democrats are heading into a challenging political environment this year. Historically, the president’s party usually loses seats in midterm elections. This phenomenon is often misunderstood as a referendum on the President and his party. But actually, midterm performance is typically due to the “out” party feeling more enthusiasm – and therefore being more likely to vote.
In 2018, Donald Trump was in the White House and Democrats were excited to turn out. But in 2022, with Joe Biden in office and Democratic majorities in both the House and the Senate, it’s likely that Republican voters will feel more motivated to get to the polls.
What does redistricting mean for the midterms?
Redistricting since the now-infamous 2020 U.S. Census produced very mixed results for Democrats at the state legislative level. Some redistricting commissions, legislatures and courts in battleground states have delivered relatively fair maps. But, the redistricting processes in other states have produced far less fair maps, and in some cases perpetuated outrageous gerrymanders.
While there are a few states where Democrats have clear opportunities to pick up new state legislative seats in the short term, there are also a significant number of Democratic incumbents whose seats are at risk.
We know that it will take a tremendous amount of resources, energy, and attention to hold the line and make gains in our states this year. That’s why we have identified the states with the biggest opportunities for progressive change at the state legislative level.
Michigan’s Independent Redistricting Commission produced maps that give Democrats the opportunity to compete for legislative majorities, in addition to defending a number of fragile incumbents.
There are critical Gubernatorial defend (D-Whitmer) and Secretary of State (D-Benson) elections this year, as well as several competitive Congressional seats (MI-07, MI-08, MI-03, MI-10).
Michigan narrowly voted for Joe Biden in 2020, and will continue to be a critical electoral battleground state from the Presidential level all the way down. It is also a democracy battleground, where GOP legislators and operatives are pursuing election subversion and sowing seeds of distrust in election administration.
Pennsylvania’s newly-enacted state legislative House map gives Democrats the opportunity to compete for a legislative majority, in addition to defending a number of fragile incumbents.
There is an open Gubernatorial election this year, as well as a strong open Senate flip opportunity at the federal level. The Gubernatorial race is also critical because the Governor will appoint the next Secretary of State.
Pennsylvania narrowly voted for Joe Biden in 2020, and it will continue to be a critical electoral battleground state from the Presidential level all the way down. It is also a democracy battleground, where GOP legislators and operatives are pursuing election subversion and sowing seeds of distrust in election administration.
While the new state legislative maps have not yet been finalized, we know that the Republican-controlled legislature is working to further gerrymander the maps. Democrats are likely to be just a few seats away from falling into a legislative superminority, which must be prevented.
There is a critical Gubernatorial hold election this year (D-Evers), as well as a strong Senate flip opportunity (R-Johnson).
Wisconsin narrowly voted for Joe Biden in 2020 and it will continue to be a critical battleground state from the Presidential level all the way down.
The newly-drawn legislative maps remain gerrymandered in favor of Republicans; however, the House maps provide Democrats with the opportunity to compete for several new seats, in addition to defending fragile incumbents.
There is a strong Gubernatorial flip opportunity this year (R-Kemp), as well as a critical Senate incumbent defend election (D-Warnock) and an important Secretary of State flip opportunity (R-Raffensperger).
Georgia narrowly voted for Joe Biden in 2020 and it will continue to be a critical electoral battleground state from the Presidential level all the way down. It is also a democracy battleground, where GOP legislators and operatives are pursuing election subversion and sowing seeds of distrust in election administration.
State Legislative Elections:
House: 48 Democrats, 52 Republicans | To Flip Blue: 3 Seats
Electoral Opportunities: All 100 seats are up for election in 2023
Senate: 22 Democrats, 18 Republicans | Blue Majority: 3 Seats (Dems can only lose 1 seat to maintain majority)
Electoral Opportunities: All 40 seats are up for election in 2023
New legislative maps are not fair and continue to be gerrymandered. However, term limits and open seats may provide opportunities for Democratic inroads.
New legislative maps are not fair and continue to be gerrymandered. However, term limits and open seats may provide opportunities for Democratic inroads
Our electoral strategy will build upon our 2022 successes. Due to the volume of races, we cannot endorse candidates in every state holding elections. Instead, we prioritize endorsing where we can build momentum at the bottom of the ticket to decrease roll-off in naturally higher turnout environments with strategic higher-ticket Democratic opportunities.
While the final selection of states will depend on a variety of factors, in 2024, our likely states are below.
US Senate Election in 2024 (Sinema (I) Opportunity for Democratic challenger)
Senate: 22 Democrats, 27 Republicans, 1 Vacancy | To Flip Blue: 3 Seats
Critical US Senate Hold – Robert Casey (D) won in ‘18 by 7 pts
Senate: 13 Democrats, 8 Republicans | Blue Majority: 5 seats
Assembly: 28 Democrats, 14 Republicans | Blue Majority 14 seats
Critical US Senate Hold – Jacky Rosen (D) won in 2018 by 5 pts
House: 56 Democrats, 54 Republicans | Blue Majority: 2 Seats
Open US Senate race in 2024 (Debbie Stabenow (D) is retiring)
House: 102 Democrats, 101 Republicans | Blue Majority: 1 Seat
Critical US Senate Hold – Robert Casey (D) won in ‘18 by 7 pts
Critical Senate Hold – incumbent Tammy Baldwin (D) up for reelection
Open seat for Governor and Attorney General in 2024