Democrats mobilize for $60 million blitz to expand on state legislature victories

Gretchen Whitmer
FILE – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the crowd during inauguration ceremonies, Jan. 1, 2023, outside the state Capitol in Lansing, Mich. Whitmer will announce a plan Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, to provide universal prekindergarten education for all 4-year-olds in Michigan during her State of the State speech, as she aims to deliver on one of her original campaign promises with Democrats now holding full control of the Legislature. (AP Photo/Al Goldis, File) Al Goldis/AP

Democrats mobilize for $60 million blitz to expand on state legislature victories

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Coming off the heels of a string of surprise 2022 pickups in state legislatures, Democrats are mobilizing to keep the momentum going in the upcoming cycle to flip even more states blue.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee unveiled plans for a blitz to target 17 state legislative chambers both offensively and defensively, including in traditionally Republican stronghold arenas.

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“After flipping four chambers blue and holding all of our Democratic majorities in 2022, the DLCC is ready to harness that momentum and build on that success. We will aggressively defend our new majorities and mount competitive challenges in vulnerable GOP chambers that we have an opportunity to take back,” the DLCC said in its “Path to the Majority” plan.

By the end of the Obama administration, Democrats were battered in state legislatures. Republicans controlled 68 chambers compared to the Democrats’ 31. At the time, the DLCC was roughly a “$15 million organization,” but is now seeking to expand toward $60 million for this election cycle, interim DLCC President Heather Williams told Politico.

At the moment, Democrats control 40 state chambers compared to the Republicans’ 58, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Last cycle, Democrats added seats in 21 state legislatures and flipped five chambers, stunning the GOP in a year that was expected to be a red wave. Democrats gained control over both Michigan chambers, the Pennsylvania House, and Minnesota Senate, and now enjoy a bipartisan coalition in Alaska’s upper chamber.

Local control of state legislatures helped give Republicans a leg-up on Democrats during reapportionment, enabling them to enact congressional maps that helped tilt the battle for the lower chamber in their favor.

Heading into the next election cycle, the DLCC is keen on preserving its hold on the Michigan House, Minnesota House, Pennsylvania House, and Virginia Senate. The group is seeking to flip both chambers of the Arizona legislature, New Hampshire House and Senate, Pennsylvania Senate, and Virginia House.

All of those 10 chambers are home to a party with a majority of six seats or less, rendering them tight competitions.

From there, the DLCC plans to shore up Democratic power in deeper red terrain, including the Georgia House, both chambers of the Kansas legislature, the North Carolina House and Senate, as well as both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature.

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First on the docket will be Virginia, which will be on the ballot this November. Republicans managed to flip the state House and make considerable inroads in the state Senate in 2021. The election will be a test of Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R-VA) political might in the traditionally Democratic-leaning state.

The Republican State Leadership Committee, which is the GOP counterpart to the DLCC, has not yet announced its election battle plan.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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