Democrats Look to Replicate State Legislative Election Success

By FOCUS, A Leonine Business

With the 2024 election fast approaching, Democrats are looking to replicate the success they had in 2022 at the state legislative level. In the 2022 midterm elections, Democrats made significant strides at the state level, picking up seats in 21 states and taking control of five legislative chambers from Republicans. These gains included securing seats in nine states that were previously under Republican control before the election. In contrast, Republicans only managed to pick up seats in five states controlled by Democrats. Additionally, the Republican gains were predominantly in deeply conservative states like Florida and West Virginia, underscoring a more localized success rather than a broad-based shift.

One notable Democratic player in the 2022 state elections was The States Project, which spent an impressive $60 million across five states. This strategic investment was instrumental in helping Democrats secure trifectas in Michigan and Minnesota, where they gained control of both legislative chambers and the governor’s office. In 2024, The States Project and other Democratic groups are using a similar playbook to flip key legislative chambers in Arizona, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. These states are seen as critical battlegrounds where control of the state legislature could significantly influence future policy directions. Conveniently for Democrats, these five states will also be critical to Democratic President Joe Biden’s re-election efforts and the party’s attempt to maintain control of the U.S. Senate.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) has been gearing up financially for the upcoming election and setting new fundraising records along the way. In the first quarter of 2024, the DLCC raised $2.3 million, marking a 45 percent increase from its previous record quarter. This surge in fundraising highlights the growing momentum and resource mobilization within the Democratic camp as they eye further legislative victories.

Democrats are hoping to use the issue of abortion to leverage support at the state level, since the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade returned the regulation of abortion to the jurisdiction of individual states. Democrats believe that emphasizing their stance on abortion rights will galvanize voter support, as evidenced by their strong electoral performance when abortion is on the ballot. By framing the debate around reproductive rights, Democrats aim to appeal to a broad spectrum of voters who are concerned about the potential rollback of these rights at the state level.

Democrats are looking to use their strong fundraising to leverage hot-button issues like abortion to build voter support in key states to take control of chambers that eluded them in 2022. Their recent successes and forward-looking plans reflect a concerted effort to reshape the political landscape at the state level, countering Republican dominance and paving the way for future legislative and policy victories. FOCUS will continue to monitor state-level elections in our annual election reports, published in the fall.