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2020 Political Strategy

It Starts with State Legislatures

At Sister District, we build and maintain Democratic majorities in state legislatures across the country. Since our founding in late 2016, we have had tremendous success by executing a comprehensive strategy that involves both electoral and non-electoral tactics.

Map showing red and blue US voting districts

The Census and Redistricting

Every ten years, the results of the National Census trigger redistricting in the states. This means that after the 2020 Census, every state will redraw its electoral district maps—an opportunity that will not arise again until 2031.

States Control Redistricting

State legislatures control the redistricting process in 37 states, so who we send to our state legislatures between in 2020 will have consequences for years to come. Learn more about gerrymandering.

How we Select Democratic Candidates

2020 is the biggest election year of our lifetimes – and there are thousands of state legislative elections happening across the country. Importantly, elections in 2020 are the last chance for Democrats to gain power in state legislatures prior to redistricting in 2021, which will determine the maps for the next decade.

The seats we win in 2020 will help end gerrymandering

In 2020 (as in 2018 and 2019), we are focusing on these “Last Chance” races: the last elections before redistricting in 2021, in states where the legislature controls redistricting. In other words, whoever is elected in these races will draw their state’s next maps.

We prioritize Last Chance races that also meet one of our overall strategic goals of flipping chambers blue, holding a fragile Democratic majority, and making inroads in badly gerrymandered states.

For a deeper dive into the methodology we use to select our portfolio of Sister Races, check out our Candidate Selection Process.

Our Three Political Goals

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BLUE FLIPS
Chambers where Democrats are within 1-3 seats of flipping the chamber.

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BLUE HOLDS
Chambers where Democrats hold a narrow or fragile majority that must be protected.

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BLUE INROADS
Chambers where Democrats are at a significant disadvantage, but must build power as part of a longer term strategy.

2020 States and Chambers

In 2020, our political strategy will again include chambers from each of our three categories, with ultimate priority given to those races in 2020 that are the last elections before redistricting in 2021.

Further, we will prioritize states whose maps are badly gerrymandered: those states whose congressional maps would fail a 7% efficiency gap threshold, and those that NYU’s Brennan Center categorizes as “extreme maps.”

These are our state and chamber targets holding “Last Chance” elections in 2020:

BLUE FLIPS

State Chamber Composition “Last Chance”
Efficiency Gap Fail
“Extreme Maps”
Minnesota Senate 32D / 35R Yes
Wisconsin Senate 14D / 19R Yes X
Michigan House 52D / 58R Yes X X
Florida Senate 17D / 23R Yes X

BLUE HOLDS

State Chamber Composition “Last Chance”
Efficiency Gap Fail
“Extreme Maps”
Colorado Senate 19D / 16R Yes
Delaware Senate 12D / 9R Yes

BLUE INROADS

State Chamber Composition “Last Chance”
Efficiency Gap Fail
“Extreme Maps”
Florida House 46D / 71R / 3V Yes X
Georgia Senate 21D / 35R Yes X
Georgia House 75D / 103R / 2V Yes X
North Carolina Senate 21D / 29R Yes X X
North Carolina House 55D / 65R Yes X X
Pennsylvania Senate 21D / 28R /1V Yes X X
Texas Senate 12D / 19R Yes X X
Texas House 64D / 83R / 3V Yes X X
Wisconsin House 64D / 19R Yes X

 

We will announce our first wave of candidate endorsements in the spring of 2020, and another wave over the summer.

How we Help Elect Candidates

Sister District works closely and in direct coordination with candidates, acting primarily as an extension of the campaign’s field and fundraising work. Our volunteers make phone calls, knock doors, send texts, write postcards, and donate to their candidates.

We complement our political strategy with non-electoral work through our affiliated (c)(4), SDAN, to increase voter registration, voter education, and research partnerships with academics and nonprofit think tanks to test novel methods of voter and volunteer contact.

As a presidential election year, 2020 will be busy.  Sister District will continue to provide a critical function in the ecosystem: by focusing on state legislative races, particularly in Last Chance redistricting chambers and seats, we will ensure these critical venues of power are not forgotten in the hub-bub of presidential and congressional races.