Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee Won Big in 2023, Is Ready to Pivot to 2024

Press Releases

WASHINGTON — As 2023 comes to a close, the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee won big throughout the year. From hard-fought election wins to safeguarding reproductive rights to breakout moments for state legislators, one could argue that the DLCC is the campaign committee with the best winning streak in the country right now. 

Momentum in the states is undeniable, and the DLCC is poised to turn this year’s victories into critical wins in 2024 and beyond. Our path to the majority strategy outlines our plan to maintain our majorities, flip key chambers, and combat Republican supermajorities in 2024. There’s important work ahead – but it’s worth looking back at 2023 and the important groundwork laid to build Democratic power in the states. 

DLCC President Heather Williams issued the following statement:

“I could not be prouder of the work the DLCC accomplished this year. 2023 was not an easy year – we faced an onslaught of attacks from Republicans across the country determined to unravel fundamental freedoms, like abortion access and voting rights. But the DLCC met the moment as each challenge arose and emerged victorious in the biggest battles. Our Democratic majorities delivered important wins, from enshrining abortion access to feeding our kids in schools to combating gun violence. State legislators became household names, as Montana Rep. Zooey Zephyr fought against disgusting anti-trans legislation, and the Tennessee Three stood strong in their demand for gun reform following a horrific massacre in Nashville. And as the year came to a close, the DLCC won every important election – overperforming special elections by an average of 6 points and sweeping the 2023 November elections – securing victories in Virginia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania while Democrats also won big in the abortion ballot measure in Ohio. 

“The DLCC right now has the best winning record in politics. However, our work is not over – 2024 promises even more opportunities for building Democratic power and infrastructure in the states. We have record-level momentum fueling us into the new year, and the DLCC is poised to protect our progress, flip key chambers, and unravel GOP supermajorities. 

“2023 laid the foundation for 2024 to be the year of the states.” 

Here are ten victories the DLCC is celebrating as we begin to pivot to 2024: 

  1. Winning the Virginia legislature – Democrats swept Virginia elections this year, clinching control of both legislative chambers and blocking Governor Glenn Youngkin’s extremist agenda, including an abortion ban. The DLCC was the first national Democratic organization on the ground in Virginia this cycle, directing funds that would total a record-breaking $2.2 million and leading the charge to fight back against Youngkin’s MAGA extremism. Virginia provides a winning blueprint to guide us to victory in 2024.
  1. Democratic majorities safeguarded abortion rights – Since Roe was overturned last summer, state Democrats nationwide have sprung into action to ensure access to reproductive care. New Democratic majorities in Michigan and Minnesota swiftly passed legislation enshrining abortion rights, while historically blue strongholds like Illinois, Maine, and New York moved to expand access to reproductive health care and protect abortion providers and patients. Thanks to Democrats, about 50% of Americans now live in states that offer legal protections for abortion access.
  1. Sweeping special elections – Special elections are a key part of the DLCC’s strategy to build Democratic power in every state capitol. In 2023, we raked in a staggering 33 special election victories across the country, nearly double the number of Republican victories and overperforming our margins by an average of six points. From flipping a key Virginia Senate seat with Aaron Rouse’s victory to winning five special elections in Pennsylvania and another five in New Hampshire – the DLCC has serious momentum.
  1. Democratic trifectas delivered progress – New Democratic trifectas in Michigan and Minnesota ushered in a wave of progress that Republicans had blocked for decades. In Michigan, Democrats repealed right-to-work, enshrined LGBTQ+ protections, passed commonsense gun safety reforms, and repealed the state’s archaic 1931 abortion ban. In Minnesota, Democrats protected abortion rights, expanded access to the ballot, advanced green energy policy, and established LGBTQ+ protections.
  2. Tennessee Three shone the spotlight on gun reform – Following a horrific school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee state Reps. Justin Pearson, Justin Jones, and Gloria Johnson peacefully protested in the state House calling on the GOP majority to pass commonsense gun reforms. Reps. Pearson and Jones were subsequently expelled from the legislature by the Republican supermajority, but later won both of their seats back in special elections. The Tennessee Three’s heroic refusal to back down in the face of Republican bullying helped amplify the issue of gun violence across the country.
  3. Combating LGBTQ+ attacks – Over 200 openly LGBTQ+ Democrats serve in state legislatures across the country. In Montana, Rep. Zooey Zephyr, a trans lawmaker, defended her constituents by opposing the GOP’s ban on gender-affirming care for young people – even when Republicans tried to silence her. In Michigan and Minnesota, new Democratic trifectas added anti-discrimination protections and banned conversion therapy for minors. And in Virginia, the Democratic majority in the Senate blocked 6 bills attacking trans children, and the DLCC helped elect Danica Roem, the first openly trans person to be elected to a state Senate seat in the South. These wins are guaranteed to stop a new wave of state-mandated discrimination.
  1. Winning the Wisconsin Supreme Court race – This April, Judge Janet Protasiewicz won her election to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, fending off a far-right MAGA extremist and establishing a new liberal majority on the court. Two of the top issues in this election were abortion rights and the GOP’s blatantly rigged redistricting maps. With Protasiewicz now on the court, a case on redistricting maps is finally being considered, which could pave the way for Democrats to win an outright majority in the legislature in 2024.
  1. Supreme Court rejects the Independent State Legislature Theory – In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against North Carolina Republicans in the case of Moore v. Harper, which was filed after the state supreme court tossed out the GOP’s maps for partisan gerrymandering. The North Carolina GOP’s entire case centered around a fringe concept known as the Independent State Legislature (ISL) Theory, which argues that state legislatures should have sole, unchecked authority to decide how our federal elections are run, with no say from the governor or the courts. This case would’ve empowered legislatures to rig district maps, attack governors’ veto powers, pass anti-voting bills, and even overturn the results of federal elections. Even the Trump-stacked Supreme Court couldn’t justify such a catastrophe.
  1. Making History with 7 Black Speakers – This year, a record-breaking 7 Black legislators – all Democrats – were chosen to serve as Speakers of the House in state legislatures across the country. After the DLCC helped flip the Pennsylvania House blue, Democrats elected Rep. Joanna McClinton as their Speaker, making history as the state’s first woman and first Black Speaker. She joined the ranks alongside historic leaders in Maine, Maryland, New York, Illinois, and Michigan, where the DLCC flipped the legislature blue in 2022, ushering in the historic speakership of Rep. Joe Tate. Then, in November, Democrats flipped the Virginia House blue and chose Rep. Don Scott as speaker – the first Black speaker in Virginia’s 400-year history.
  1. Expanding New Jersey’s Democratic Majorities – Democrats picked up seven seats in the New Jersey legislature on election night, protecting a key governing trifecta. Republicans targeted competitive districts and poured money into the Garden State to buy their way into races. But that money was no match for voters who soundly rejected MAGA extremism and welcomed Democratic leadership back with enthusiasm. In the end, all nine candidates featured in the DLCC Spotlight program won their competitive races.

The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) is the official Democratic Party committee dedicated to winning America’s state legislatures and building state infrastructure. Over the last decade, we have fought cycle-over-cycle to gain a dozen new legislative chamber majorities and we are leading the effort to bring national attention and investment to our ballot level. State legislatures are the building blocks of our democracy and have the closest connections to Americans’ day-to-day lives. From protecting fundamental freedoms and voting rights to growing the middle class, the DLCC and state legislators are moving the Democratic agenda forward and shaping the future of this country.