2019 PRE-ELECTION: At Democracy for America, there’s no such thing as an off-year

This weekend, across the country Democratic parties and grassroots groups are engaging in activities meant to mark the fact that, as of Sunday, Nov. 3, we’ll be one year out from the 2020 general election.

However, here at Democracy for America (DFA) there’s no such thing as an off-year. Instead, in the days ahead we’re gearing up for the victory of 60 DFA-endorsed candidates who are on the ballot this Tuesday, November 5th in state and local elections nationwide.

DFA’s list of 2019 endorsements is available at: https://democracyforamerica.com/our_candidates

Key Facts about DFA’s 2019 Endorsements:

  • DFA backed 77 candidates running for state and municipal-level office in 2019. This is the largest slate of candidates DFA has ever endorsed in an odd-numbered election year and one of the largest slates of state and municipal-level candidates endorsed by a multi-issue progressive PAC this cycle.
  • The 60 candidates up for election on Tuesday includes a wide range of different leaders. The list includes first-time candidates, like Chesa Boudin, who is running to become San Francisco’s (CA) next District Attorney, and Tay Anderson, who’s running for a school board seat in Denver (CO). It also includes trailblazing veteran leaders that DFA has endorsed before, like Charlotte (NC) Mayor Vi Lyles and Virginia Delegate Danica Roem, the first African-American woman to lead her city and the first openly transgender person to serve in VA’s General Assembly, respectively. It even includes one of our own, DFA Communications Director Neil Sroka, who is running for a City Council seat in his small suburban town of Grosse Pointe Farms (MI).
  • In Virginia, DFA has endorsed a total of 14 local candidates (see our Purple to Blue highlight section below for more detail), including the critical races needed to flip two seats in each legislative chamber and turn Virginia blue statewide.
  • In addition to the candidates on the ballot on Tuesday, DFA endorsed another 17 candidates in 2019, including the stand-out victories of Kate Gallego, Phoenix (AZ) Mayor, and J.B. Smiley, Memphis (TN) City Council Member.
  • This is the most diverse slates of candidates DFA has endorsed in an odd-numbered year cycle. 58% of those endorsed by DFA in 2019 are candidates of color, including 27 African-American, nine Latinx, and nine Asian-American candidates.
  • In total, DFA-endorsed candidates are running in 20 different states for State Senate, State House, Attorney General, District Attorney, Mayor, County Council, City Council, and School Board.

DFA’s Purple to Blue Campaign Positioned for Victory in Virginia

While every race DFA endorsed this November is important, we’re especially excited about finishing the job we started in March 2013 when we made Virginia the flagship state of our multi-year, multi-state, multi-million dollar Purple to Blue campaign to flip Governors, State Houses, and State Senate Chambers from Republican to Democrat across the country by the end of 2020.

At the time, some thought focusing progressive resources in legislative races in a “deep red” state like Virginia was a little crazy.

Seven years later, with Democrats in Virginia now holding all statewide offices and just two seats in the House and two seats in the Senate shy of a legislative majority in both chambers, that decision has proved to be a prophetic investment in diverse progressive leadership and the rising power of the New American Majority of Black, brown, and progressive white voters throughout the Commonwealth.

DFA worked with our allies to get progressives to this moment by supporting dozens of candidates with people-power and grassroots donations, making more than 650,000 volunteer calls using our DFA Dialer distributed voter calling tool, and working closely with local partners like the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus to train and support candidates and campaign staff in the soon to be four elections since DFA’s 2013 Purple to Blue launch.

In 2019 specifically, beyond volunteer recruitment, fundraising, and media support, DFA has worked closely with the campaigns of six candidates running for VA State Senate and three candidates for the House of Delegates on everything from designing voter outreach programs for turning out the New American Majority to coaching candidates and staff on campaign mechanics.

The Springboard to 2020

While much of the country’s attention is focused on the election happening a year from now, Tuesday’s elections will be an important indicator of growing progressive momentum all across the country.

The grassroots volunteers and supporters taking action in support of DFA’s 2019 endorsed candidates are both backing local candidates who will have a direct impact on their lives and gaining critical experience on the phones, at the doors, and outside polling places that will be critical to Democratic victory in 2020.

It may be an odd-numbered year, but 2019 has been no off-year for DFA. In fact, with the range of quality candidates we’ve endorsed this year and the powerful campaigns they’re kicking into high-gear ahead of Tuesday, we’re certain it will be a critical springboard for progressives into the most important elections of our lifetimes in 2020.

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