Minnesota foiled Donald Trump’s plan to win the state through race-baiting attacks on the Twin Cities and Rep. Ilhan Omar. By using race-class narrative messaging and turning out tens of thousands of first time voters, Democrats increased their margin from 1.5% in 2016 to 7.2% in 2020. Minnesota led the nation with a record-breaking 80% turnout of all eligible voters. Particularly notable was a big surge in Native turnout propelled by MVP-supported Rock the Vote Native Style.
Democrats picked up three hard-fought State Senate seats. Increased voter turnout from Muslim and Latinx voters activated by Faith in Minnesota and Unidos MN made the difference in races with slim margins in both SD14 and SD56. But we lost two rural seats, one because of a GOP-supported dirty trick to run “Marijuana Party” candidates as spoilers. This left Democrats one seat shy of a Blue Trifecta. Sadly, post-election, things only got worse. Two Iron Range Democrats flipped, creating an Independent caucus and leaving the State Senate with a 35/32/2 split.
A core divide in the state and within the Democratic party is the future of fossil fuels. Immediately following the election, Democratic Governor Tim Walz caved to fossil fuel interests and greenlit Enbridge’s Line 3, a Keystone XL-sized tar sands “climate bomb” pipeline. If completed, the Pipeline will generate more carbon than all of Minnesota’s current economy. Construction though Native treaty lands in the midst of spiking COVID numbers began immediately and is being met with fierce resistance, including tree-sits, lockdowns of equipment, prayer circles, and Native encampments across a 300-mile Pipeline pathway. Our partners Honor the Earth, MN350, and Indigenous Environmental Network held this Pipeline off in the courts for seven years. Now they are on the frontline. This fight is likely to be a major flashpoint in Biden’s first 100 days.
Of all the battleground states, New Hampshire had the biggest Democratic gain in the presidential race from 2016 to 2020 — a 7-point swing from a 2,736-vote win for Clinton to a 59,267-vote (7.4%) win for Biden. Thanks to wins by Senator Jeanne Shaheen and both Democratic members of Congress, NH will have an all-Democratic congressional delegation for three consecutive cycles for the first time in 150 years.
Unfortunately, Democrats also narrowly lost control of both the state House and Senate, with Senate control coming down to a few races decided by a few hundred votes, and popular Republican Governor Chris Sununu was easily reelected, giving the NH GOP trifecta control over state government. With Sununu likely to challenge Senator Maggie Hassan, NH will be a Senate battleground in 2022.
Exciting down-ballot victories include MVP partner Rights and Democracy member and first-time Latina candidate Maria Perez winning her state representative race by 142 votes and Cassandra Levesque, a 21-year-old progressive champion, winning her state rep race by 144 votes, thanks in large part to GOTV efforts by New Hampshire Youth Movement.
In the presidential election, Maine saw a big swing to the left, from a narrow 3% Clinton victory to a 9.1% Biden victory. However, GOP Senator Susan Collins easily won reelection, reaffirming Maine’s strong “independent” streak. The state’s second congressional district also reaffirmed its status as a battleground. Its single electoral vote again went to Trump, though this year by a smaller 7.4% margin compared to 10.2% in 2016. However, Democrat Representative Jared Golden, who was elected in 2018, won reelection handily and Democrats held on to trifecta control of state government.
The most exciting down ballot victory was Chloe Maxmin, a 28-year-old climate justice activist and co-founder of MVP’s emerging partner JustME for JustUS. Maxmin defeated the State Senate minority leader, a longtime Republican senator in a traditionally conservative district.
In 2020, MVP partners — led by anchor partner Maine People’s Alliance — made over 350K calls, sent close to 300K texts, knocked on over 20K doors, and held thousands of relational outreach conversations. MVP also helped nine emerging organizations either take on election work for the first time or take their fledgling election efforts to a new level. Stay tuned in 2026 for the rematch over Susan Collins’ Senate seat.
We’re proud to have been the only major national investor in local organizing in Nebraska’s 2nd Congressional District, which yielded one electoral vote for Biden! They also won on an important economic justice issue, passing an anti-predatory lending initiative with 83% of the vote. This is the largest ballot initiative margin in recent Nebraska history. MVP supported 8 local partners who collectively contacted more than 150k voters of color. These big wins in Omaha show what’s possible, even in a traditionally red state. We are committed to shifting Omaha (and NE-2) long-term.