As the post-Labor Day campaign season kicks-off, the battleground for control of the General Assembly is taking shape, defined by growing Democratic momentum, an expanded battlefield, quality candidates, unprecedented financing and grassroots investments, and a winning message.
An Expanded Battleground Stretches Republican Leadership Thin
For the first time ever, Democrats successfully recruited candidates in every single district. They are former Army doctors, veterans, moms, teachers, health care advocates, small business owners, mayors, and former judges. These are fresh faces – not Raleigh politicians – who look like the people they hope to represent – 65 are women, 54 are people of color, and seven are LGBTQ.
These quality candidates, together with our Break the Majority effort, have successfully built the largest General Assembly battlefield in a decade. While the suburbs continue to rebel against Republicans’ toxic brand, Democrats have looked beyond suburban Wake and Mecklenburg to target nearly 60 Senate and House races this cycle.
Unprecedented Fundraising – From Party to the Candidates
NCDP has a record $5.8 million cash on hand, $4.5 million more than NC GOP. Even factoring for Republican legislative leaders’ fundraising, Democrats maintain a nearly $2 million advantage. But Republican money woes don’t stop there. Democratic candidates across the state are outraising Republicans, making it hard for Republican leaders to choose who to save and who to cut:
- Which NC districts might flip? These 10 Democrats have more cash than GOP incumbents, News & Observer, 7/19/18
- Why one GOP strategist says ‘Republicans are going to have to work harder than ever’, Charlotte Observer, 7/12/18
- Wilmington-area Dems outraise Republicans in 2nd quarter, Wilmington Star News, 7/19/18
- Democrats flush with cash to challenge GOP in state House races, Triad City Beat, 7/19/18
- Finance Records Show Lead for Democrats, The Pilot, 7/24/18
- Wesson outraising Goodwin in House District 1, The Daily Advance, 7/20/18
- Phelps edges ahead of Steinburg in cash chase, The Daily Advance, 7/13/18
- Democrats Out-Raising Republicans in State Legislative Races, Cause For Concern?, First in Freedom Daily, 7/18/18
Historic Investments in Grassroots
NCDP and Break the Majority launched an unprecedented grassroots investment this summer, organizing one of the largest legislative field campaigns in the country with the goal of knocking more than 1 million doors and expanding the electorate. To date, nearly 2,300 volunteers have knocked nearly 84,000 doors and made 256,000 phone calls – in one weekend in August, more than 700 volunteers knocked more nearly 20,000 doors.
Republicans’ Actions Reveal A Scared and Desperate Party
Republicans’ actions speak louder than their words. From placing “red meat” constitutional amendments on the ballot and circulating an open letter in support of SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh to ramming through a budget with no amendments and announcing a post-election, lame-duck session, it’s clear Republicans are worried they won’t be able to turn out their voters and know they will lose big this fall.
Republicans are also desperately working to distract from and explain major missteps. After raiding for political purposes a fund meant to bring jobs to eastern North Carolina and ignoring public educators for years until teachers’ frustration became a movement in May, legislative leaders are now grandstanding on each to shift blame and to distract from their mistakes and their record on important issues.
Democrats on Offense Have a Winning Message
Republicans are stuck on defense, relying on a stale playbook built on labeling every Democrat as “extreme” with a “radical agenda” while trying to scare their voters to the polls. Meanwhile, Democrats are talking about kitchen-table issues affecting everyone, things like:
- Public Education: More than 20,000 educators rallied in Raleigh in May, ensuring that Republican efforts to underfund our public schools won’t be swept under the rug this fall. Every single campaign will discuss public education, and when they do, it will be on Democrats’ terms.
- Health Care: Whether discussing protections for preexisting conditions, Medicaid expansion and its effects on rural hospitals and communities, or their own stories dealing with our health care system, Democratic candidates have several personal ways to contrast themselves with Republicans on the defining issue of the midterms.
Bottom Line: Democratic Momentum Continues to Grow Heading into a Change Election
This is a change election and Democratic candidates represent change. Without a top of the ticket drawing people to the polls, the side with more enthusiasm and momentum is in a better position. Playing in the largest battlefield in a decade, and fueled by quality candidates, more resources than ever, unprecedented grassroots investments, and a winning messaging on issues personal to voters, it’s undeniable Democrats have the enthusiasm and momentum to win.