Why we expanded into the Arizona House
The 30,000-foot view
Let’s start with the big picture: two-thirds of the states are controlled by hyper-extreme, special interest dominated legislatures (all too similar to our new Supreme Court). The states can restore America’s promise of a better future. But picking off the low-hanging fruit simply won’t cut it. We need to reach to have a bigger impact.
That’s why we took some real risks this year, investing in states where the policy stakes are high and where there are narrow paths to winning legislative majorities.
We did not merely find winnable seats and chambers. Instead, from the outset, we executed an electoral strategy that is difficult and ambitious, with the potential to change the game:
- 5 states that can shatter the consensus view of the state landscape
- 54 endorsed candidates (and counting)
- Zero incumbents
- Zero Democrat-held seats
Take a second to let that sink in. Every single candidate we’ve endorsed would be a pick up, which means that to win, they have to outperform 2016.
Our approach in action
There is no better example of our approach in action than in Arizona. Early on, we saw a path to flipping one or both chambers of the legislature. It is narrow, but if everything breaks right, it’s a significant opportunity to disrupt an extreme, special interest-dominated majority.
So we invested in Arizona with a vision to improve the state now and for cycles to come — and with a plan to make it happen. It was a long shot. Investing in seats that neither Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama won. Bucking conventional wisdom that the state would never actually get over the top. And swimming upstream against a history of under-investment and its resulting lack of infrastructure, especially at the state legislative level.
But we believed it was a shot worth taking. And we convinced others to join our effort. Today, we are working together to execute our plan. We’ve identified and funded efficient and effective field, digital and research projects. We’ve brought in national partners with deep experience and critical expertise. And we’ve become the largest supporter of the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (ADLCC).
The final stretch
A month out from Election Day, our work is already having a bigger impact than even we originally thought possible. Now, Arizona has the ability to run robust campaigns for every winnable seat in the Senate and the House. These are campaigns that have the potential to change the political and policy calculus within the state for a generation.
What does this all add up to? Significantly expanded capacity and skills for Arizona’s state legislative campaign — in not one, but two chambers. And, a shift from a once-in-a-blue-moon longshot to actually being in the game in the Senate and the House.
It’s still a long way from a gimme. In fact, we still believe that putting ourselves in a position to win both chambers by 2020 will be an enormous victory. But we are also exhilarated that the path has expanded.
To capitalize on this expanded path and put the state in the strongest possible position to flip one or both chambers, we are:
- Ensuring every competitive district has cutting-edge communications programs, including with new digital tactics and best-in-class field organizations.
- Expanding the Senate map and investing in every winnable race — essential to taking back the majority.
- Opportunistically investing in strong House candidates who can be essential partners to their Senate counterparts and will help reverse decades of extremist lawmaking.