Electoral Strategy

Our electoral plan is a cornerstone of our organization’s overall strategy to build enduring progressive power in state legislatures.

2021-2022 Electoral Map

Our electoral strategy is a cornerstone of our organization’s overall strategy to build enduring progressive power in state legislatures. Our electoral strategy involves building power in three types of state legislative chambers: Blue Flips, Blue Holds, and Blue Inroads.

Blue Flips

Chambers where Democrats can flip the chamber in one cycle

Blue Hold

Chambers where Democrats have a fragile majority, which we must defend and expand

Blue Inroads

Chambers where Democrats must build power for future chamber flips

In any given year, the mix of chambers and seats in these three categories changes, due to the schedule of state elections, which differs year to year; the composition of chambers, which shift after each election cycle; and the urgency of other key races and broader electoral opportunities that exist in each state.

Due to the volume of races, we typically 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. Read about our Candidate Selection Process.

2021

Virginia: Protect and expand the Democratic House majority.
Special Elections: Endorse in strategically valuable special state legislative elections when possible.

2022

Target States: AZ, FL, GA, MI, NC, NH, PA, TX, WI, MN, CO, NV
Nested Opportunities: Prioritize states with nested competitive Senate, House, and Gubernatorial elections.
Redistricting Commissions: Prioritize states with redistricting commissions, where we expect new maps to be fairer for Democrats.
Incumbent Protection: Invest in fragile incumbents. Incumbent protection has always been a key component of our electoral strategy. We can expect many state legislative Democratic incumbents to face reelection challenges under new maps in Republican-controlled states. We must not lose our hard-won gains.

The 2021 Plan

State Legislative Elections

Virginia: We will work to protect and expand the Democratic House majority. We cannot engage in race targeting until the new state legislative maps are drawn in the state. This will be accomplished by a new redistricting commission and process.
Given US Census data delays, we expect to be running on the current maps in 2021, but this decision is not yet final.

Special Elections: We will endorse in strategically valuable special state legislative elections when possible. We will prioritize races in states that are on our 2021-2022 electoral roadmap.

State Funds for 2022

Because we have identified the states in which we are likely to engage in 2022, we have the opportunity to raise funds for our eventual candidates in those states. At this point, we expect to be able to raise some funds in 2021 for our eventual 2022 candidates in at least Pennsylvania and Texas.


States don’t become battlegrounds overnight. Democrats and national progressive organizations have the resources to take their case to the people and win, but they have to start early and organize relentlessly. When they lose, they have to stay in place and keep fighting for every political inch they can get. No place is unwinnable forever.

-Tram Nguyen, Co-Executive Director of New Virginia Majority
Read the full op-ed on Virginia

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The 2022 Plan

Bringing The Statehouse Fight to the Midterms

On November 8, 2022, 88 of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly-scheduled elections, representing 83% of the nation’s state legislative seats. Our electoral strategy leverages broader electoral opportunities to maximize impact during these critical elections. While the final selection of states will depend on a variety of factors, including the challenges and opportunities presented by new district maps drawn in 2021, here are the states in which our endorsements are likely to fall:

Blue Flips

Arizona

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 14 Democrats 16 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 2 Seats
  • House: 29 Democrats, 31 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 2 Seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Open Gubernatorial election (incumbent Ducey-R is term limited)
  • Senate Election (D-Mark Kelly defend)

Contextual Opportunities

  • Independent commission draws congressional and state legislative lines
  • Arizona voted for Joe Biden and elected two Democratic Senators in 2018 and 2020.

Minnesota

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 31 Democrats 34 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 2 Seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Critical Gubernatorial Hold (incumbent Walz-D up for reelection)

Contextual Opportunities

  • Minnesota voted for Joe Biden in 2020

Michigan

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 16 Democrats 22 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 4 Seats
  • House: 52 Democrats, 58 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 4 Seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Critical Gubernatorial Hold (incumbent Whitmer-D up for reelection)

Contextual Opportunities

  • Independent commission draws maps
  • Michigan voted for Joe Biden in 2020

New Hampshire

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 10 Democrats, 14 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 3 Seats
  • House: 187 Democrats, 213 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 14 Seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Critical US Senate Hold – Hassan (D-NH) won in 16 by 5 or less pts
  • Competitive Gubernatorial flip (R-Sununu)

Contextual Opportunities

  • New Hampshire voted Democrat for President Joe Biden (52.9%), Senator Jeanne Shaheen (56.7%), and both its Congressional delegation (Pappas 51.3%, McLane Kuster 53.9%).
  • Flipping a chamber would bust a Republican trifecta.

Blue Holds

Colorado

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 20 Democrats, 15 Republicans
    Blue Majority: 3 seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Critical Gubernatorial hold (D-Polis)

Nevada

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 12 Democrats, 9 Republicans
    Blue Majority: 2 seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Critical US Senate Hold – Cortez-Masto (D) won in ‘16 by 5 or less pts
  • Critical Gubernatorial Hold – (Sisolak-D)

Contextual Opportunities

  • Nevada narrowly voted for Joe Biden (50.1%) and Democrats hold 3 of its 4 Congressional seats.

Blue Inroads

Texas

State Legislative Opportunities

  • House: 67 Democrats, 83 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 9 Seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Gubernatorial election (incumbent Abbott-R running for reelection)

Wisconsin

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 12 Democrats 21 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 5 Seats
  • House: 38 Democrats, 61 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 12 Seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Critical Gubernatorial Hold (incumbent Evers-D up for reelection)
  • Strong US Senate flip opportunity: Ron Johnson (R) (possibly open)

Contextual Opportunities

  • Wisconsin voted for Joe Biden in 2020.

Pennsylvania

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 20 Democrats, 29 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 6 Seats
  • House: 90 Democrats, 113 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 12 Seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Critical Open Gubernatorial Hold (incumbent Wolf-D is term limited)
  • Strong US Senate flip opportunity: Pat Toomey (R)

Contextual Opportunities

  • Pennsylvania voted for Joe Biden in 2020.

Florida

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 16 Democrats, 24 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 5 Seats
  • House: 42 Democrats, 78 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 19 Seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Gubernatorial election (incumbent DeSantis (R) running for reelection)

North Carolina

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 22 Democrats, 28 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 4 Seats
  • House: 51 Democrats, 69 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 10 Seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Strong US Senate flip opportunity: Burr (R) – Open

Georgia

State Legislative Opportunities

  • Senate: 22 Democrats, 34 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 7 Seats
  • House: 77 Democrats, 103 Republicans
    To Flip Blue: 14 Seats

Electoral Opportunities

  • Gubernatorial election (incumbent Kemp-R running for reelection; maybe Stacey Abrams will run again)
  • Critical US Senate hold (D-Warnock)

Contextual Opportunities

  • Georgia voted for Joe Biden and elected two Democratic US Senators in 2020.


In reaction to the historic turnout of 2020 and Democratic victories in places such as Georgia, already this year more than 100 bills have been put forward in state legislatures seeking to restrict voting access. Those efforts will not end without a fight.

-Stacey Abrams, American politician

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