Published: December 22, 2022

Top 25 Elections MVP Helped Win: How We Defied the Odds in 2022

Here are 25 of the closest and most consequential elections (and groups of elections) that MVP and our local partners are proud to have helped narrowly win in this cycle.

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How does MVP help our partners win so many close elections?

Most national political funders pick their top 6-12 states to focus on – which is understandable. Perennial battlegrounds are important for a reason and long-term commitment to them is appropriate. MVP is deeply committed to our perennial battleground states and moves most of our money there too.

But when we as a field collectively focus the vast majority of our resources on 6-12 states, and end up ignoring the other 38-44 states, this can create its own set of problems (note that none of the five closest US House races we won were located in major battleground states, and four of the state legislative chambers we impacted most were outside of them too). MVP is proud that over the years we have advised donors to move money to over 40 states when we’ve seen opportunities to make a difference – including states like Alaska, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana; neglected House districts like IL-17, NM-2, and OH-13. We need to win in these places to cobble together even a bare minimum governing coalition at the federal level! Yet very few organizations of any kind have the capacity, breadth of relationships, or knowledge of the landscape to make deeply informed recommendations in them. MVP’s unorthodox strategic orientation and capacity to go both deep and broad is fairly unique. It’s part of what has allowed us collectively to help impact such an uncommonly long list of close elections, as documented below.

Here are 25 of the closest and most consequential elections (and groups of elections) that MVP and our local partners are proud to have helped narrowly win in 2022.

 

HOUSE AND SENATE WINS

1) Nevada We Won a US Senate Seat (9,007 votes) 

America’s only Latina Senator Catherine Cortez Masto won reelection in Nevada, helping to hold the Senate for Democrats in this squeaker victory that wasn’t called until the Saturday after the election. MVP partners, including UNITE HERE, Make the Road, and One APIA Nevada pulled out all the stops to make it happen, knocking on more than 2 million doors.

2) New Mexico We Won House District NM-2 (1,342 Votes)

Gabriel Vasquez pulled an upset in this Southern New Mexico district. MVP Partners, including OLÉ and CAFé Acción, ran robust direct voter contact and communications programs targeting new and sporadic Latino voters.

3) Connecticut We Won House District CT-5 (1,961 votes). 

Jahana Hayes held onto this swing seat against a savvy opponent in Connecticut’s reddest district. Our partner Working Families, which has a strong organization in Connecticut, prioritized this race. 

4) Colorado We Won House District CO-8 (1,632 votes). 

State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician, unexpectedly won this new seat, which is 39% Latino and was drawn as a slightly R-leaning toss-up in the redistricting process. MVP partner CIRC Action mobilized Latino voters.

5) Washington We Won House District WA-3 (2,629 votes). 

Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez won this (R+5) district formerly represented by Jaime Herrera Beutler in one of the biggest upsets of the cycle. MVP’s WA-based partner OneAmerica Votes ran a significant program there contacting 20,000 Latino, AAPI, and immigrant voters.  

6) New York We Won House District NY-18 (3,592 votes). 

Democrat Pat Ryan won a full term after recently winning an upset victory in an August special election that took place with the previous maps. Citizen Action New York and Working Families mobilized voters in the district. 

7) Pennsylvania We Won House District PA-07 (5,835 votes). 

Democrat Susan Wild won this R+2 district in Pennsylvania’s LeHigh Valley. Several MVP partners turned out voters in this district including Make the Road Action, POWER Action Fund, PA Stands Up, and Working Families.

Overall – we came SO close to holding the House!  (6,683 Votes)

We lost the House by an extremely narrow margin across five districts: CO-3 (554 votes), CA-13 (565 votes), MI-10 (1,600 Votes),  IA-3 (2,144 Votes), NY-17 (1,820 Votes). When you add it all up, we came just 6,683 votes shy of winning these five races and saving Democratic control of the House. It’s heartbreaking when you think about all the good legislation we could have passed over the next two years if we’d turned out another 6,683 votes… But coming so unexpectedly close is still a kind of victory because it will make the MAGA House majority less effective and easier to defeat in 2024. Because of the five closest House races our partners helped win (by a combined total of just 11,156 votes), we are five seats down in the House instead of 10 seats down. That could make a difference.

STATEWIDE WINS

8) Wisconsin — We won Secretary of State (7,625 votes). 

Democrat Doug La Follette beat his “Big Lie” challenger in an election that took over a week to certify the final results. While the SOS does not administer elections in Wisconsin, defending this seat is key to blocking state Republicans from dismantling the bipartisan Wisconsin Elections Commission and shifting its powers to the SOS.

9) Arizona — We flipped a Governor (17,116 Votes)

We flipped the Arizona Governor, electing Democrat Katie Hobbs by less than a percentage point. It took over a week to get the final count, and Hobbs’ veto will be crucial even though we didn’t flip the state legislature (yet – we’re so close! And the fact that Hobbs won may even allow us to get some good legislation passed this session!). And we definitely dodged a bullet by defeating Kari Lake!

10) In Arizona, we also flipped an Attorney General (280 Votes).

We won by 280 votes out of more than 2.5 million cast to flip the Attorney General to Democrat Kris Mayes, narrowly denying office to an election denier. The race is currently in a recount but it is unlikely to change the outcome: Good news for abortion rights, voting rights, and more.

11) Minnesota — We protected the Attorney General (21,815 Votes)

Progressive champion Attorney General Keith Ellison was considered the most endangered AG in America. He was 7 points down in the last public poll with 10 out of 10 pundits in an insider tip sheet predicting he would lose on election day. Polls failed to measure the ground game of our local partners who turned out tens of thousands of voters;  Ellison won by just .84% out of 2.5 million votes cast.

12) Illinois – We protected the State Supreme Court (10,980 Votes)

A Republican billionaire poured dark money into two sleepy downstate Supreme Court races (Illinois’ Supreme Court races are districted geographically) to try to flip the Court. But our partners Illinois Immigrant Action and the Center for Racial and Gender Equity threw down to support Judge Mary O’Brien to a one point victory.

STATE LEGISLATIVE WINS

13) Michigan — We won a Democratic trifecta, first time in 40 years (2,770 Votes)

In one of the sweetest and most unexpected victories this election cycle, Democrats won a 2-seat margin in both the Michigan House and Senate, which will allow them to pass legislation on a long list of progressive issues. Major credit to Michigan People’s Campaign and We the People Action Fund who worked in these districts: 

  • State House District 27: Jaime Churches (660 Votes)
  • State House District 58: Nate Shannon (939 Votes)
  • State House District 103: Betsy Coffia (767 Votes)
  • State Senate District 12: Kevin Hertel (404 Votes)

14) Minnesota  We won a Democratic trifecta (1,024 Votes)

We won a trifecta in Minnesota for the first time in a decade by holding the MN House and netting two Minnesota Senate seats for a one-seat Democratic majority – which opens up opportunities to pass a raft of progressive policies. Partners Faith-in-Minnesota Action, UNIDOS-MN, Gender Justice Action and others helped deliver these wins. Democrats won the two closest races by 1,024 votes combined:

  • MN Senate District 41: Judy Seeberger (321 Votes)
  • MN Senate District 3: Grant Hauschild (703 Votes)

15) Pennsylvania We flipped the PA State House (63 Votes)

Democrats picked up 12 seats for a total of 102 seats in the 203-member State House to take a one-seat majority after Melissa Cerrato won the 151st District by just 63 votes. Winning the House was made possible by years of work by PA United, PA Stands Up, Casa in Action, Make the Road Action in PA, One Pennsylvania, API PA, and New Pennsylvania Project, Turn PA Blue, and advocacy for fairer redistricting maps.

16) North Carolina — We blocked a GOP supermajority (629 votes)

This one seat will narrowly preserve Democratic Governor Roy Cooper’s veto on voting rights, LGBTQ rights, and abortion – keeping North Carolina as the nearest safe haven for abortion in much of the Deep South. Seven MVP partners worked hard to support Diamond Staton-Williams to swing this race (NC House District 73). Down Home NC alone knocked on 42,000 doors and PODER Latinx contacted 10,000 voters in the district. She won by 629 votes.

17) Wisconsin – We blocked a GOP supermajority (2,499 votes) 

Wisconsin Democrats won 35 seats in the Assembly, preventing a GOP supermajority and preserving the governor’s veto power. Our partners at Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Conservation Voters worked on these races: 

  • Wisconsin Assembly District 54: Lori Palmeri (1,742 votes)
  • Wisconsin Assembly District 94: Steve Doyle (757 votes)

18) Nebraska – We saved the Democratic filibuster (82 Votes)

In a squeaker, Democrats saved the filibuster by one seat, electing John Fredrickson, the first openly gay man in the Nebraska legislature. He won Senate District 20 by just 82 votes with support from MVP partner She’s Electable. This should allow Democrats to block the worst anti-abortion legislation, and power grabs to redistrict away the competitive NE-2 Congressional seat and Nebraska’s split electoral vote for president.

19) Alaska We won partial state legislative control (592 votes) 

The Alaska state legislature goes into 2023 with bipartisan “unity caucuses” – made up of mainly Democrats with some Independents and moderate Republicans likely to lead each chamber. This is a huge win in an otherwise often deep red state. Elections that led to this bipartisan governing coalition include these close races: 

  • Alaska House District 31: Maxine Dibert won HD 31 (515 votes).
  • Alaska House District 18: Cliff Groh won HD 18 (77 votes).

20) Maine — We held Maine’s State House; these 3 seats helped (1,352 Votes)

We held the state Senate and House, which experts predicted we’d lose. Dems won 82 seats to the GOP’s 67, expanding their margin. This enabled us to hold the Secretary of State and Attorney General, because the legislature elects statewide offices as well. MVP partners Maine People’s Alliance and Food and Medicine supported the wins in three close races:

  • Maine House District 22, Bangor: Laura Supica (473 votes)
  • Maine House District 55, Hallowell: Dan Shagoury (497 votes)
  • Maine House District 57, Readfield: Tavis Hasenfus (382 votes)

21) New Hampshire We almost Flipped the State House (24 Votes) 

We needed to pick up 22 seats to pull even in this 400-seat chamber. We picked up 20, with one race tied (to be decided in a special redo election). The final split will be a narrow Republican majority – either 201-199 or 202-198. Of the 198 wins, MVP partners (603 Forward, 350NH Action, and Rights and Democracy) contributed to four victories decided by 10 votes or less (you read that right! :). And with 13 more votes, we could have flipped the chamber.

  • NH House District Rockingham 5: Mark Vallone (5 votes)
  • NH House District Coos 7: Eamon Kelley (2 votes)
  • NH House District Hillsborough 45: Karen Calabro (10 votes) 
  • NH House District Hillsborough 29: Judi Lanza (7 votes)

LOCAL VICTORIES

22) St. Louis – We elected the first Black mayor (2,280 Votes)

In the aftermath of Ferguson, organizers worked to elect Tishaura Jones as St. Louis’ first Black mayor. Four years ago, she lost by a heartbreaking 888 votes. This time she won – along with flipping 3 seats on the City Council and winning a progressive governing majority. Huge credit to Action St. Louis Power Project which knocked 60,000 doors.

23) Pittsburgh – We elected the first Black mayor and more (3,858 Votes)

A long-shot movement candidate, Ed Gainey was elected in a huge upset as Pittsburgh’s first Black mayor. He won alongside a slate of five judges, and two justice-related ballot measures. Major credit to 1Hood Power, Alliance for Police Accountability, One Pennsylvania, and Allegheny County Justice for All.

24) New Orleans — We elected a reform Sheriff (4,266 Votes)

Progressive reformer Susan Hutson upset long-term corrupt incumbent Marlin Gusman in the Orleans Parish Sheriff race with a vision to transform the local jail system. This has been a huge priority for local organizations PAC for Justice and Voters Organized to Educate.

25) Corpus Christi, Texas – We won a climate voice on City Council (133 Votes)

Last but not least, climate champion Sylvia Campos won a contested December 13th runoff on a platform to challenge fossil fuel infrastructure in Texas’ 8th largest city where the petroleum industry runs the town. A second climate champion Jim Klein also won by just 1,182 votes. Texas Campaign for the Environment (TCE) worked hard on both races. 

 

Click here to read more about how we defied the odds over the past year!
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