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Priorities USA digital ad for Annette Taddeo in the FL state Senate special election. Photo courtesy of: Priorities USA

Priorities USA quietly worked with the Florida Democratic Party to help a Democrat win a state Senate seat previously held by a Republican. It was the first time the national progressive advocacy group got involved in a state legislature race.

Why it matters: Democrats want to regain some of the nearly 1,000 state legislature seats they have lost in recent years, and progressive groups are focusing on digital campaigns as a strategy for Dems hoping to win more seats at every level. And this is another example of the sophisticated campaigns popping up to help Dems in these elections, which the advocacy groups think will create a pipeline for Democratic candidates to regain majorities overall.

Priorities USA coordinated a nearly $200,000 digital campaign in support of Annette Taddeo — who won with 51% of the vote. "Republicans certainly did a better job in 2016; they spent more money on it and it showed," said a Priorities USA spokesperson. Taddeo is the 8th Dem to flip a Republican seat since Trump's inauguration so far.

  • Hurricane Irma affected the campaign and the election, so the group focused more on mobile ads than desktop.
  • Priorities USA worked as a digital team for the Florida Democratic Party, deploying three types of ads: "positive" messages about Taddeo's platform; "Trump" that said things like "A vote against Diaz is a vote against Trump"; and "vote early" ads.
  • The ads were bilingual, which targeted voters who selected Spanish as their primary language for the internet browser.
  • Battle lines: The National Republican Senate Committee "wanted their candidates to spend 30% of their budget on [digital campaigns]," the Priorities USA spokesperson said, noting Dems "have, by any measure, fallen behind on that, so this is a step toward getting it done."
  • Counterpoint: Dems haven't won a special Congressional election since Trump and strategists have warned that these local wins are not necessarily indicative of national trends.

What's next: Priorities USA is using their digital model from Florida, which they consider a successful start, to model the work they do in 2018. They're largely known as running TV ads, but the spokesperson said they're pivoting to invest more in digital campaigns and deploy them at every level in 2018 — including House and Senate races. And they're assisting with a $2 million digital campaign for the Virginia governor's race and they have already run digital ads in competitive Senate races on health care.

Go deeper: Dems keep winning in Trump country as Republicans resign, which is an uplifting sign for the party, especially as state legislatures will be in charge of congressional redistricting ahead of 2022 elections. Forward Majority, a new Dem super PAC, is expanding its state legislature campaign to 12 states to further help Dems win more seats. And a recent survey conducted for Priorities USA suggested Democrats should focus campaign messages on the economy to win over voters in 2018.

Go deeper

Updated 7 hours ago - World

Mexican President López Obrador tests positive for coronavirus

Mexico's President Andrés Manuel López Obrador during a press conference at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on Wednesday. Photo: Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced Sunday evening that he's tested positive for COVID-19.

Driving the news: López Obrador tweeted that he has mild symptoms and is receiving medical treatment. "As always, I am optimistic," he added. "We will all move forward."

7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor of Arkansas

Sarah Huckabee Sanders at FOX News' studios in New York City in 2019. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will announce Monday that she's running for governor of Arkansas.

The big picture: Sanders was touted as a contender after it was announced she was leaving the Trump administration in June 2019. Then-President Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor, adding "she would be fantastic." Sanders is "seen as leader in the polls" in the Republican state, notes the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, who first reported the news.

Coronavirus has inflamed global inequality

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

History will likely remember the pandemic as the "first time since records began that inequality rose in virtually every country on earth at the same time." That's the verdict from Oxfam's inequality report covering the year 2020 — a terrible year that hit the poorest, hardest across the planet.

Why it matters: The world's poorest were already in a race against time, facing down an existential risk in the form of global climate change. The coronavirus pandemic could set global poverty reduction back as much as a full decade, according to the World Bank.

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