Donald Trump has certainly helped. But Democrats’ massive success in flipping statehouse seats in special elections this past year isn’t happening by accident.
The party’s dominance — it’s flipped 35 seats, and is hoping to make it 36 next week in a Florida House race — is also the result of old-fashioned political organizing. Nuts and bolts steps like funding year-round staff on the ground in the states, designing digital fundraising platforms, training volunteers, screening résumés for campaigns around the country and, of course, collecting huge checks.
At the center of those efforts is the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, mostly forgotten in the 25 years since it was founded as the D.C. hub for state legislative campaigns, but now working to coordinate efforts and partners, and along the way double its spending for the cycle to $35 million in strategic investments.
Realistically, most people working on state senate or assembly campaigns are young and don’t know what they’re doing. Often, it’s their first campaign, and many times, their only campaign. That can be true of the candidates, too, and certainly of the volunteers.
Over the phone and during regular check-in visits in person, the DLCC has been moving in with its experienced staff of operatives to get staffers and elected officials up to speed.