May 10, 2024

Stories from the states: The power of early money

Thanks to early money, MVP partners are engaging voters on the issues and races that matter most to them. This in turn will help create a reverse-coattails effect in November, in which voter enthusiasm at the bottom of the ticket helps put our top-of-the-ticket candidates over the top.
Arizona for Abortion Access, campaigning for a ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution

Arizona for Abortion Access, campaigning for a ballot initiative to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution

Thanks to early money, MVP partners are engaging voters on the issues and races that matter most to them. This in turn will help create a reverse-coattails effect in November, in which voter enthusiasm at the bottom of the ticket helps put our top-of-the-ticket candidates over the top.

Here are some highlights of what MVP partners are working on in key states:

Top battleground states

  • In Arizona, the Arizona for Abortion Access coalition (including MVP partners LUCHARural Arizona Action, and AZ Poder) has gathered 500,000+ signatures and recruited 6,000 volunteers for a ballot measure to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution.
  • In Georgia, the Asian American Advocacy Fund and Georgia Equality PAC are getting out the vote for their endorsed candidates in Georgia’s state and local primary on May 21, in which voters will choose their nominees for congressional and state legislative seats, as well as school boards, sheriffs, district attorneys, and county commissioners.
  • In North Carolina, Workers Vote helped Rodney Pierce, a champion of workers’ rights and abortion rights, defeat conservative Democrat Michael Wray by just 42 votes — a 0.36% margin — in the primary for NC State House District 27, after executing their plan to knock on 17,000 doors. This win brings us closer to stopping harmful GOP bills at the state level — while building momentum to win the state’s sixteen Electoral College votes and Governor race in November.

    In other NC news, Down Home North Carolina is building local power through a county-level energy efficiency campaign; involving their members in a grassroots-driven local candidate endorsement process; and launching a campaign to defeat far-right gubernatorial candidate Mark Robinson, with door-knocking, deep canvassing (i.e. real, human-to-human, listening-oriented conversations with voters), phone-banking, and letters to the editor. 

  • In Pennsylvania, PA United, Asian Pacific Islander Political Alliance (API-PA), Pennsylvania Working Families PartyOne PA, and other local partners helped progressive candidates win the April 23 primary, including Rep. Summer Lee. Thanks to tens of thousands of doors knocked, her 20-point victory margin sent a dramatic message about the staying power of progressive champions, and built momentum for crucial voter turnout efforts this fall in western Pennsylvania.

Credit: Texas Freedom Network

Next priority states

  • In California, MVP is teaming up with the California Donor Table and others to launch Battleground California, a coalition aiming to win eight competitive U.S. House races by mobilizing Latino, AAPI, and Black voters, enabling Democrats to take back the House in November.

    (Remember: The GOP majority is so slim that a recent retirement brought it down to a single vote. Flipping the House is within striking distance.)

  • In Maine, local partners have helped push the state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which, once passed by states representing a majority of the Electoral College vote, would effectively sidestep the Electoral College and decide the Presidential election by a national popular vote. MVP partner Maine Votes co-leads the Mainers for Modern Elections coalition, for whom this was a top priority campaign. Two core MVP partners are part of that coalition: Maine Youth Power, which turned people out to the state house to support the bill, and Maine People’s Alliance, which did grassroots lobbying for it.
  • In Maryland, former GOP Governor and now U.S. Senate candidate Larry Hogan imperils Democrats’ chances to hold onto chamber, currently commanding a double-digit polling lead. Thankfully, MVP partner Progressive Maryland has stepped up to launch a coordinated effort to defeat him in November by reminding voters of his record of opposing core progressive priorities: Living wages, abortion access, healthcare, environmental protection, and education funding.

    As Sarah Chaisson-Warner, MVP State Strategy Director, says: “Phase One is about defining Hogan and engaging voters on key issues and his record. Here’s the bet I’m making: early money to define Hogan will pay off in the long run, creating a shift in voter attitudes toward him and costing us less in voter persuasion further down the road, when the cost of voter engagement is typically higher. One of the things I especially appreciate about MVP is that we are often “First In the Pool” – meaning we’ll be the first to invest, often enticing other funders to join once they know someone else is in.”

  • In New Hampshire, 603 Forward is celebrating seventy-three young leaders’ elections to local office, as well as the victory of an endorsed candidate for special election to the NH House of Representatives. This brings Democrats within striking distance of winning the chamber in November.

    In other NH news, 350NH Action is celebrating the planned closure of the last coal-fired power plant in New England in 2028, the completion of a five-year campaign.

  • In Texas, four MVP partners (Workers Defense Action Fund PACTexas Freedom NetworkTexas Working Families Party, and Texas Organizing Project PAC) helped progressives win their March 5 primary races in three critical counties: Jose Garza for Travis County District Attorney, Sean Teare for Harris County DA, and Rebecca Clay-Flores for Bexar County Commissioners Court.

    Why does this matter in red Texas in 2024? According to Hallie Montoya Tansey, MVP Senior State Strategist: “Increasing turnout and creating habitual progressive voters in Harris, Travis, and Bexar is key because these are three of the five counties which made up 40% of the vote share in 2022.” Looking at the big picture, Latinos now outnumber non-Hispanic whites in the state, and comprise over 50% of all Texans aged 18 and under. Demographics are not destiny, but they create a real opportunity to turn Texas blue in the coming cycles, which would effectively give Democrats an electoral lock on the White House.

 


 

MVP’s 4-phase plan

To situate us in where we are and where we’re heading: We are currently in Phase 2 of MVP’s 2024 Field Plan, a roadmap that systematically builds engagement, resources, and power to carry us to victory on Election Day — and, crucially, to keep momentum going into 2025, no matter the outcome on November 5th.

The focus of Phase 2 is to identify and register voters and galvanize them around key advocacy issues, bills, candidates, and primary races. All of this leads into Phase 3 this summer: Voter persuasion and mobilization as we head into early voting in September.

The more well-resourced our local partners are today in Phase 2, the more they can scale up their operations in time for Phase 3 and then in Phase 4: Get-Out-The-Vote, as well as the never-more-critical work of election protection and defending the results.

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