Jul 22, 2018

Behind Democrats' $1 million plan to invest in state parties

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at a local March for Our Lives rally. Photo: Sarah Morris/Getty Image

Democrats are betting on Tip O'Neill's famous phrase that "all politics is local" — even in the Trump era when lawmakers and candidates are forced to answer for every national controversy.

Driving the news: The Democratic Midterm Victory Fund (DMVF) is hosting a Sept. 25 fundraiser in L.A., headlined by Mayor Eric Garcetti, to raise $1 million for 10 state Democratic parties across the country.

Why it matters: State parties work closely with local candidates and campaigns, but don't always get the national attention and money that could make them more competitive. DMVF's goal is to introduce national donors to these state parties for the midterms and the 2020 election.

  • This is also the latest example of Democrats re-focusing their efforts on the state level instead of zeroing in on the House and Senate.
  • "It would be a shame to flip the House but see things like gerrymandering continue because we ignore state legislature seats," Mayor Garcetti told me.

The 10 states that will receive $100,000 from the fundraiser: California, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

  • DMVF created this 10-state fundraiser after a similar event earlier this summer in which they raised $100,000 for South Carolina's Democratic Party.

The bottom line: Republicans control 67 state legislative chambers to Democrats' 32. "State moves have national consequences," Garcetti said. The problem in the past, he said, is that "Democrats write it off and don’t engage with Americans who could flip."

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The big picture: Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.

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Washington State Police use tear gas to disperse a crowd in Seattle during a demonstration protesting the death of George Floyd. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

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Why it matters: The situation is tense across the U.S., with reports of protesters looting and burning buildings. While some police have responded with restraint and by monitoring the protests, others have used batons, tear gas, rubber bullets and other devices to disperse protesters and, in some cases, journalists.