The Plan
Electoral Strategy

Our electoral strategy is the cornerstone of Sister District's mission: to build enduring progressive power in state legislatures and establish Democratic majorities. Through grassroots organizing, political research, and leveraging modern technology, our 50,000+ volunteers from across the nation are able to effectively support candidates in competitive districts in key states.

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 we believe Democrats can compete for a legislative majority.

Blue Hold

Chambers where Democrats have a fragile majority that is in immediate danger of flipping red.

Blue Inroads

Chambers where we cannot immediately flip a chamber blue, but where we must build progressive power to fight back against corrosive Republican power and position Democrats for future success.

Every Election Cycle Is Unique

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. In short, we have to overcome voter apathy and enthusiasm gap in state and local elections; endorsing candidates that can spark local enthusiasm and community support is critical. Read more about our Candidate Selection Process and meet Our Candidates

Candidate endorsements for the next election cycle are announced in the spring.

Our Focus In 2022 

Potential Target States: AZ, GA, MI, NC, NV, PA, and WI

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 2022 Plan

Bringing The Statehouse Fight to the Midterms

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.

How the 2022 Electoral Environment looks for Democrats

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.

Arizona Senate & House

State Legislative Opportunity

Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission produced maps that give Democrats an opportunity to compete for legislative majorities, in addition to defending a number of fragile incumbents.

Broader Electoral Opportunities

There are open Gubernatorial and Secretary of State elections this year, as well as a critical Senate incumbent defend election (D-Kelly) and several competitive Congressional seats (AZ-01, AZ-06).

Background Context

Arizona narrowly voted for Joe Biden and elected two Democratic Senators in 2018 and 2020. 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.

Michigan Senate & House

State Legislative Opportunity

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.

Broader Electoral Opportunities

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).

Battleground Context

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 House

State Legislative Opportunity

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.

Broader Electoral Opportunities

There is an open Gubernatorial election this year, as well as a strong open Senate flip opportunity. The Gubernatorial race is also critical because the Governor will appoint the next Secretary of State.

Battleground Context

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.

Nevada Senate & House

State Legislative Opportunity

Under newly-drawn legislative maps, Democrats must defend narrow and vulnerable Democratic majorities.

Broader Electoral Opportunities

There is a critical Gubernatorial hold election this year (D-Sisolak), as well as a critical Senate incumbent election (D-Cortez-Masto) and several competitive Congressional seats (NV-01, NV-03, NV-04), and an important open Secretary of State election.

Battleground Context

Nevada 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 potential democracy battleground, where GOP operatives and allies have pushed allegations of election fraud and mistrust in election administration.

Wisconsin Assembly

State Legislative Opportunity

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.

Broader Electoral Opportunities

There is a critical Gubernatorial hold election this year (D-Evers), as well as a strong Senate flip opportunity (R-Johnson).

Battleground Context

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.

North Carolina Senate & House

State Legislative Opportunity

New legislative maps have not yet been finalized, but the North Carolina Supreme Court has ordered them to be redrawn again, after impermissible Republican gerrymandering. The new maps are likely to afford Democrats some opportunities to compete for additional seats, in addition to defending a number of fragile incumbents.

Broader Electoral Opportunities

There is a strong open Senate flip opportunity this year.

Battleground Context

North Carolina narrowly voted for Donald Trump in 2020 and will continue to be a critical battleground state from the Presidential level all the way down.

Georgia House

State Legislative Opportunity

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.

Broader Electoral Opportunities

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).

Battleground Context

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.