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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Some 13,500 tech workers with day jobs at companies like Facebook, Google, Netflix and Disney are volunteering in their spare time to help down-ballot Democratic candidates in competitive state-level races with digital tools and marketing.

Why it matters: Democrats in recent years have fared worse at harnessing technology to their advantage in campaigning, treating campaigns less like a business than their Republican counterparts. The stakes are higher in building a tech-savvy campaign in 2020's incredibly competitive landscape.

By the numbers: Tech for Campaigns' 13,500 volunteers have to date worked on 468 election-related projects with 366 different campaigns, flipping three state chambers Democratic. The group is working in 21 different states this cycle.

  • Jessica Alter, a tech industry vet, launched the group in 2018 with two other liberal tech industry friends, Peter Kazanjy and Ian Ferguson. They saw a desperate need for Democrats to catch up to the digital age in campaigning.

What they're saying: Ricky Junquera, a Democrat running for Florida House District 118, told Axios small campaigns already struggle to afford consulting and digital services — and then COVID-19 hit, making things even harder.

  • Volunteers from Tech for Campaigns are handling Junquera's digital ads and texting outreach, he said, decreasing his campaign's spend on each tactic by 60-70%.
  • "We're not that sexy campaign at the top of the ticket," he said. "Money is hard to raise. They're like my fairy godmother. Otherwise, I don't have a shot."

The big picture: It's no secret that many tech workers are Democrats. Some see volunteering with the program as a way to get involved in politics while stuck quarantining due to the coronavirus.

  • "Managing a software product launch applies nicely to campaigns," Michael Danahy, a volunteer working on the email campaigns for Democrat Patricia Sigman's Florida Senate race, told Axios.
  • Danahy said he spends about an hour per day doing campaign work: "I have all this energy I want to put toward politics and changing the world, and there is only so much voting and donating I can do."

Go deeper

All eyes — and $$$ — on Georgia

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Brace yourself for Part II of the 2020 election — it starts today, in Georgia. Hundreds of millions of dollars are about to pour into the Peach State, now that control of the Senate — and the fate of the next president's agenda — hinges on runoffs for not one but both of the state's seats, set for Jan. 5.

Why it matters: If Joe Biden goes to the White House, the outcomes of these races will determine whether he can move aggressively to enact Democratic policy priorities and confirm his top cabinet and judicial nominees.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
33 mins ago - Science

Biden's military space future

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

President-elect Joe Biden should anticipate major and minor conflicts in space from even the earliest days of his presidency.

The big picture: President Donald Trump's military and civil space policies are well-documented, but Biden's record and views on space are less clear.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus may have been in U.S. in December 2019, study finds — Hospital crisis deepens as holiday season nears.
  2. Politics: Bipartisan group of senators unveil $908 billion COVID stimulus proposalFDA chief was called to West Wing to explain why agency hasn't moved faster on vaccine — The words that actually persuade people on the pandemic
  3. Vaccine: Moderna to file for FDA emergency use authorizationVaccinating rural America won't be easy — Being last in the vaccine queue is young people's next big COVID test.
  4. States: Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as New York's COVID capacity dwindles.
  5. World: European regulators to assess first COVID-19 vaccine by Dec. 29
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The state of play of the top vaccines.