A new Democratic group created Tuesday plans to take back statehouses in 12 Republican-controlled states ahead of the 2020 census.
Obama campaign alums created the group Forward Majority to combat Republicans in state legislatures and seek to turn both chambers of state legislatures Democratic in at least 12 targeted states by 2020, according to the group’s website.
Cohen started the group with a $1 million cash injection, but fundraising teams hope to get that number up to the targeted $100 million in spending money.
“There’s a big gap in Democratic infrastructure — a big, gaping hole that is really at the heart of so many of the failures we’ve seen, because state legislatures that don’t always get so much press are, in fact, the foundational layer of so much of the party’s infrastructure,” group founder David Cohen told Politico. “It’s where we build our bench, it’s the laboratory for policies, it underpins so much of what we as a party need to do.”
The Democratic Party has lost more than 900 statehouse seats since 2008 when former President Barack Obama took office. Cohen and his supporters aim to strike back in time to affect how the next legislative districts are redrawn after the 2020 census.
The group plans to use its fundraising and grassroots experience, as well as targeted digital ads, to influence key races, starting in Virginia’s 2017 gubernatorial race.
The full-time staff and advisors come from presidential, gubernatorial, and federal congressional campaigns, and hope to use that extensive experience to assist local Democrats who often have to work with a severely limited budget or name recognition.
The group will also help narrow Democratic focus after the Clinton-backed “run for something” initiative precipitated an unprecedented number of local Democratic candidates.
As of June, 209 Democrats were running for Republican-held seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a Brookings report. The prior high point was 57 Democrats in 2007, the year Obama ran for office.
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