February 28, 2024

New York: We Won Back Santos’ House Seat!

On February 13, MVP New York partners Battleground NY and Make the Road New York collectively knocked on over 110,000 doors and helped flip expelled GOP Rep. George Santos' red-trending U.S. House seat for Democrats.
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Make the Road New York, getting out the vote in the NY-03 special election

On February 13, MVP New York partners Working Families PartyBattleground New York, and Make the Road New York collectively knocked on over 110,000 doors and helped Democrats flip the red-trending U.S. House seat of expelled GOP Rep. George Santos. 

Why it matters

  1. Reclaiming the U.S. House: This win trims the GOP’s control of the House to just 219-213 seats (with three vacancies), bringing Democrats one seat closer to regaining control in November. 
  2. A replicable approach: Our partners can take the best practices from this race and apply them to other competitive House races in New York, California, and elsewhere this fall.
  3. Federal policy: If we can take back the House, defend the Senate, and secure the Presidency, a full Democratic trifecta will allow us to pass some of the most progressive legislation in decades.

How they did it

Battleground New York (BGNY), a diverse coalition launched in early 2023 by Working Families Party and other labor, activist, and community organizations, targeted voters in Queens, low-frequency voters, and voters of color, and knocked on 104,398 doors across 1,800 shifts in just one month — with two thirds of all voter contacts occurring in the critical ten days of the election. All of these efforts resulted in over 10,000 commitments from low-frequency voters to turn out for the Democrat, Tom Suozzi, who won by 13,109 votes.

Additionally, MVP local partner Make the Road led a nonpartisan get-out-the-vote (GOTV) effort in Latine and working-class BIPOC neighborhoods resulting in over 6,400 door knocks, 35,000 phone calls, and 20,000 text messages. Make the Road’s work coincided with the highest early vote total coming from Westbury, the group’s top priority GOTV neighborhood (and site of their largest immigrant membership in Nassau County).

Moral of the story

Early funding matters. With early money secured, our partners were able to conduct thorough voter analyses and build ready-to-go field plans in December — long before the special election was formally announced — so that, when the election was scheduled in January, organizers could open field offices, hire canvassers, mobilize volunteers, and hit the ground running.

MVP’s role

Thanks to generous donor support, MVP was able to contribute $65,000 to the GOTV efforts in this election.

After the election, we were moved by an acknowledgment from Luke Hayes, Organizing Director of the New York Families Party, who said this:

“We would not have won the election in NY-3 without the collective effort of hosting countless volunteer phone banks and canvasses, and knocking on 104,398 doors in Queens and Nassau County. 

“This was only made possible through the support of generous donors such as Movement Voter Project who understand how critical it is to move money early in the year to resource volunteers, and who are strategic to fund a diversity of groups such as the Working Families Party as well as premiere grassroots organizations like Make the Road.”

Locally-rooted organizers are the frontlines of social, political, and electoral change in our country. Donors like you, and funders like MVP, are the supply line. 

It has been our privilege to contribute to this victory, and it only fires us up more to mobilize the resources that every grassroots organization in the country needs, in order to replicate this success hundreds of times over.

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