Democrat super PAC unveils campaign targeting critical state legislatures

Democrat super PAC unveils campaign targeting critical state legislatures
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A Democratic super PAC dedicated to flipping state legislatures unveiled a new campaign that will send at least $10 million into four states it will fight to turn blue before the bodies oversee political redistricting in 2021.

Forward Majority, founded in 2017, on Friday released a Roadmap 2020 that focuses on 50 legislative seats in Florida, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina that Democrats came close to winning in 2018. All four states are already set to be battlegrounds of varying degrees of competitiveness in the presidential race this year, and will be redistricting their congressional maps the year after the election.

“There are four states that represent the most powerful points of leverage to fortify our democracy,” said Vicky Hausman, Forward Majority co-founder. “Quite simply: these states are where Democrats face the greatest risk of being locked out of power nationally for the next 10 years.”

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State legislature races, which often get less attention in presidential election years, have been thrust into the spotlight this time due to states’ redistricting efforts and the resulting effect on the makeup of the national government. Florida, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina, all of which are completely or mostly controlled by Republicans, are expected to account for 82 congressional seats pending the results of the 2020 census.

“Right now in these states, Republicans have total control over the redistricting process and/or have been among the worst actors in voter suppression, fueling political extremism and distorting national outcomes,” Forward Majority wrote.

“This continues to be the under-recognized and under-valued opportunity of the 2020 election cycle. Democrats ignore it, and continue to under-resource it, at their peril," it continued. "Failure to win power in these states will leave Democrats out of power nationally for the generation to come.”

Democrats have been on their back foot at the state level in recent years, losing nearly 1,000 state legislative seats and 27 state chambers between 2009 and 2016. 

However, Forward Majority expressed confidence that it can make inroads in the four states it's targeting, underscoring their growing and rapidly diversifying populations.

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The Democratic Party also made high-profile inroads in certain states last year, keeping the governor’s mansion in ruby red Louisiana, unseating a Republican governor in Kentucky and taking control of both houses of the Virginia state legislature.

The new campaign will target 22 “close loss” state seats in Florida, 20 seats in Texas and seven seats in Arizona. Forward Majority said it is still assessing its plans in North Carolina.

The group said it's hoping to build off gains from 2018 and 2019 in suburban and exurban areas, where Democrats were able to pick off Republicans in both statewide and congressional races. 

“The electoral realignment that has taken place under Trump, decisive for Democrats in Louisiana and Virginia in 2019, has made the suburbs the most hotly contested battleground in 2020,” Forward Majority said. 

“There is no time to lose. This critical window of opportunity will soon close,” the group added, noting the campaign could “build a bulwark against Republican voter suppression and gerrymandering” for the next decade.