Republican Party officials say state legislative races are being overlooked ahead of the 2020 election as most GOP donors are hyper-focused on keeping President Donald Trump in the White House, a move that could see the GOP's majorities in Congress erased for a long time and determine who exerts power over the congressional map, reports Politico.
Democrats lost 700 state races, 21 statehouse chambers and six governors' offices during the 2010 tea party wave and do not want to repeat the same mistake.
So, they are pouring money into state-level races with the help of heavy political hitters like former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder. A group Holder leads, the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, expects to spend more than $13.5 million into statehouse races.
Former Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has steered $400,000 to Virginia candidates through his political action committee. Public fundraising reports show Democrats' state legislative elections arm slightly outraised Republicans' in 2019, which is rare.
"This is as serious as a heart attack, and we've got to do everything we can to win it, because this isn't about one cycle – it's about the next decade," Republican State Leadership Committee President Austin Chambers told Politico. "And our success nationally as a party is going to depend on our success in these states this cycle.
"If we get beat in these state legislative races, in these judicial races in these critical states, our party is going to be in a bad position for the next 10 years," Chambers added.
McAuliffe told the Associated Press that Democrats unveiled a new state-level fundraising initiative in 2016.
"People finally understand that you just can't play every four years in the presidential, you have to play in these state races," said McAuliffe, a top Democratic fundraiser. "You could have a great wave in Congress, but if you have all these gerrymandered districts, I don't care how much money you have."
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