WASHINGTON — The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, the sole Democratic campaign committee charged with electing Democratic state legislatures, is announcing its initial battlegrounds for the 2021-22 election cycle. In the memo, the DLCC outlines a strategy to protect its Democratic majorities and mount a competitive challenge in GOP states where Democrats are down by just a handful of seats. The committee will also invest in building power across several states to make sure Democrats are set up to win for cycles to come.
“The success of the DLCC under the Trump administration and the places we came up short offers a number of important lessons that will shape our strategy for the coming years,” said DLCC President Jessica Post. “The most important lesson may be the need for Democrats to adopt a more sophisticated giving strategy that better aligns with the outsized impact state legislatures have on the policy that affects Americans’ day-to-day lives.
“Democratic donors and activists cannot afford to lose sight of races further down the ballot,” Post continued. “That’s why DLCC is prioritizing the protection of Democratic majorities while building the competitive infrastructure needed to take on Republican majorities in the next decade of winnable chambers. Our new battleground map sets the stage for a long-term strategy that sustainably builds Democratic power in state legislatures.”
While the midterm electoral environment is still developing, and delays in census data mean that it will take some time before states have new legislative maps for upcoming elections, the state legislative battleground is beginning to take shape. Because of the historical midterm trend against the party in power, Democrats’ top priority is retaining the state legislative gains from the past four years, starting with the Virginia House this November — but new maps in states like Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania could jeopardize Republican majorities.
Republicans’ increasing extremism and fealty to ex-President Trump could also imperil GOP candidates this cycle. Over 500 Republican state legislators spread “Stop the Steal” conspiracy theories or sought to overturn the results of the presidential election, and at least 20 were present at the insurrection in Washington, DC on January 6th. The GOP civil war threatens to derail the party’s hopes of gaining majorities, while Democrats are united behind the Biden administration’s efforts to lead the post-pandemic recovery, starting with the popular, bipartisan American Rescue Plan.