Apr 3, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Democrats' fundraising surge flows down ballot

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill with a donkey as the face.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Democratic campaign arm working to win control of statehouses has notched back-to-back months of record grassroots fundraising, helped by a first-of-its-kind donor program, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Changes to state voting laws, debates over school curriculum and the Supreme Court decision ending the right to abortion have juiced state-level Democratic election efforts.

  • "There is a new and deeper understanding of how impactful state houses are on people's lives," DLCC president Heather Williams told Axios, "and how quickly they can change the trajectory of our rights."

Driving the news: Quarter 1, which closed at the end of March, set a new all-time record in grassroots fundraising for a first quarter for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, DLCC staff told Axios.

  • The cash flow was helped by a new program launched at the start of the year called "Down Ballot Defenders," which has brought in a tranche of new, monthly donors to boost Democrats' state-level efforts.
  • DLCC hopes to leverage more consistent, monthly donations to strategize and plan ahead as they hope to flip legislative seats in key states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

By the numbers: DLCC brought in over $2.3 million through grassroots donors in the first quarter — a 45% jump over its last record quarter.

  • The committee saw its all-time best January, February and March for grassroots fundraising.
  • The new Down Ballot Defenders program is projected to raise more than 20% of the total grassroots fundraising for the cycle.

The bottom line: For years, Republicans have dominated races for state legislatures. Democrats are hoping to capitalize on recent momentum and fundraising to change that.

  • The Supreme Court's decision ending the right to abortion in particular "really helped people understand how impactful the decisions that are being made at their state houses are — and how quickly they feel the impact of it," Williams said.
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