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Meet Wendy Gooditis, Donte Tanner, Kelly Fowler and Schuyler VanValkenburg. They’re exactly the people we had in mind when we started raising money to support candidates, and we could not be happier to have been a part of their electoral success and their ongoing commitment to ending gerrymandering in Virginia.
Last November, all four of these candidates ran in districts that had previously never been held by a Democrat, were districts that Democrats had performed poorly in at the state level for at least the previous three cycles and were districts with long-serving Republican incumbents. All four of our candidates moved their districts over ten points in their favor and three of them won handily over their incumbent opponents. Our fourth candidate, Donte Tanner lost in a razor thin recount race by fewer than 100 votes.
That race would have given the Democrats the majority in the Virginia House of Delegates, a goal which before the election. was unobtainable.
This is why we launched Only If You Run – to help Wendy, Donte, Kelly and Schuyler. Because of your support, we helped these candidates rise from relative long shots to viable candidates in districts that historically, Democrats had no shot at winning.
This success in Virginia speaks to the wave that is coming and to the need to engage with candidates like ours as much as possible and as early as possible. Only If You Run is focused on candidates who are competing in districts that have been previously forfeited to the Republican party largely due to Gerrymandering. This year however, the wind is at our backs and every seat must be challenged. Our endorsements and donations to Wendy, Donte, Kelly and Schuyler helped put their candidacy on the map and attracted the type of additional support that may have lifted them over the finish line. We must continue to expand the map of contestable seats across the country given the opportunity that we have in 2018.
Virginia was our proving ground and now we know: our model works. Now we are ready to scale it across our six other targeted states in 2018:
- Identify districts that are going to make the difference in this coming wave year;
- Work with the state and local parties to pinpoint where our funds will make the biggest impact;
- Fund these candidates early and sufficiently to lift them from just another name on a candidate list to a viable challenger.
To stand up to Donald Trump and protect our democracy, we have to fight gerrymandering. To fight gerrymandering, we have to use this time of heightened activism and civic engagement to attack Republican majorities in the seven state legislatures that are our focus. To capture those state legislatures, we all need to support Democrats who step up and run against Republican incumbents. We need to continue to support candidates like Wendy, Donte, Kelly and Schulyer.
Our goal for the 2018 midterm cycle is to donate over $200,000 to the types of races that in a normal year, would not be contestable, and historically have not been challenged. By bringing these races into play, Democrats can win majorities and begin to unravel the gerrymandering that has enabled a radical Congress that leaves the President unchecked.
Thanks everyone, and thank you Wendy Gooditis, Donte Tanner, Kelly Fowler, and Schuyler VanValkenburg for working so hard to #UnGerrymanderAmerica!
Only If You Run has a simple mission: we’re raising money for Democrats running against Republicans for state House and Senate seats in the country's most gerrymandered states: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Georgia, Michigan, and Florida.
The GOP controls the legislature in all seven of those states, as it did during redistricting after the 2010 census. Why does this matter? Take a look at Congress. Though voters in our seven target states support Democrats and Republicans in roughly equal numbers, they are represented in Congress by 77 Republicans and 36 Democrats.
After the census and the 2020 elections, state legislatures will again re-draw their states’ Congressional district maps for the next ten years. We need to make sure the will of the people is reflected in Congress. And that starts with electing Democrats to state House and Senate seats.
So we have a simple message: If you have ever thought about running for public office, consider it now. While Donald Trump is president, Democrats will have the wind in their sails on election days. So contest everything. Run against everyone who won’t stand up forcefully against this nonsense. Democrats: Run.
Change at the Federal level starts at the state level. If you are ready to make the commitment to public service by running for your state House or Senate seat, we want to support you. We've been raising money for you since Inauguration Day.
If you want to do something concrete and constructive today to fight back, join us in supporting Democrats challenging Republicans, and donate today. While you’re here, check out our plans for how to distribute the money we raise, and how to ask for it if you’re stepping up and running.
Win back state legislatures and we can restore fair elections. Don’t, and it’s another decade of entrenched Republican majorities in Congress.
We can do it, but only if Democrats run and take back their states.
Only If You Run.
If you are running for office or just considering it, reach out to us. We want to help you. We need you now more than ever. The change we need starts with you, and we can help.
After the 2016 election many of us were left wondering, what can I do? What is the pathway forward from here? Only If You Run is our answer.