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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

National Democratic leaders and activist groups are deploying "unprecedented" resources in the hopes of flipping state legislative chambers in at least seven states in 2020, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The groups intend to pour tens of millions of dollars into low-profile contests that will influence how the upcoming redistricting battle plays out, the Post writes. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee has established a $50 million spending goal — five times more than the group allocated during the last round of redistricting in 2010.

Context: Historically, during presidential election years, Democrats have focused on pursuing the White House, giving Republicans an opening to take over statehouses.

The DLCC says it will focus on the state legislatures in Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Texas, Michigan and Minnesota.

The big picture: Many of the legislatures Democrats hope to flip are also key battleground states for the presidential election.

  • "That overlay is helping Democrats organize earlier than usual in those states, while energizing the party's national network of volunteers," Catherine Vaughan, a leader of Swing Left and Flippable, told the Post.
  • Democrats have taken 435 state legislative seats and nine governorships in the past three years, but Republicans still control the majority in 29 state legislatures, notes the Post.

Go deeper: The U.K. election's warning for U.S. Democrats in 2020

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.