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CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT
November 2020

Overall Deep Democracy 2.0 Context and Landscape

Your support for our slate of six Georgia state house candidates and three base-building organizations in the November election resulted in incredible gains. Nationally, Joe Biden won Georgia’s 16 electoral votes for Democrats for the first time in 28 years and both Democratic senate candidates have forced January run-offs with the state’s Republican incumbents. Democrats won back the 7th Congressional district, which is located in the heart of our Deep Democracy county focus. Locally, four of our six Maria’s List endorsed candidates won election to the state house. The gains for Democrats up and down the ballot in our Deep Democracy counties of Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett were staggering. Now with two Senate seats up for grabs in January, we can once again invest in the local organizers and organizations that can officially turn out the voters needed to take back the U.S. Senate for Democrats.

 

In the spring of this year, we at Maria’s List laid out for you our strategy for the 2020 election cycle. Dubbed Deep Democracy 2.0, it is a quantitative and qualitative approach that seeks to identify U.S. House and State House legislative districts that held the potential for extraordinary Democratic turnout in November. By investing in these down-ballot candidates in areas with A) power-voting centers of people of color and B) areas with high levels of college-educated voters, we hoped to boost turnout in low-propensity, high Democratic support regions in key swing states for the President and U.S Senate races. We believed that by supporting these community-driven, women-of-color down-ballot candidates, Democrats could accomplish meaningful progressive gains at the U.S. House and state level while providing the kind of turnout needed with low-propensity voters for Democrats to take back the White House and U.S. Senate.

Asian American Advocacy Fund
Black Voters Matter
Georgia Muslim Voter Project

The New Georgia Project
Women Engaged

 


website: Asian American Advocacy Fund

Logo - Asian American Advocacy Fund

Asian American Advocacy Fund

 

The Asian American Advocacy Fund’s (AAAF) mission is to advocate for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Native Hawaiians in Georgia. Through a combination of policy advocacy at local, state, and federal levels, and by supporting candidates that believe in our values, we fight to create a better Georgia for us all. AAAF Independent Committee funds independent expenditures in state and local races, and will be participating in the Georgia run-off.

 

 

website: Black Voters Matter Fund

Logo - Asian American Advocacy Fund

Black Voters Matter

 

Black Voters Matter (BVM) is dedicated to increasing power in the Black community. They have organized chapters in 9 states, including Georgia. Their theory of change is the execution of effective civic engagement and community power is understanding, respecting and supporting local infrastructure. BVM was an instrumental part of the civic infrastructure that turned Georgia blue in the November election. Through their C3 Capacity Building program, they provide training and support for community-based organizations.

 

website: Georgia Muslim Voter Project

Logo - Georgia Muslim Voter Project

Georgia Muslim Voter Project

 

The Georgia Muslim Voter Project was founded in 2015, in response to the growing anti-Muslim rhetoric and the low rates of civic engagement in the Muslim community. As a c3, their goal is to activate members of the Muslim community to vote. To date, they have registered over 4,000 voters and made thousands of phone calls to Muslim voters in Georgia. Turning out Muslim voters for the January run-off is critical to both Senate candidates.

 

 

website: The New Georgia Project

Logo - The New Georgia Project

The New Georgia Project

 

The New Georgia Project (NGP) is a c3 non-partisan organization dedicated to voter registration and the civic engagement of Georgians. Founded in 2013 by Stacey Abrams, to date they have registered nearly 400,000 people from underrepresented communities to vote in Georgia. For the January run-off, they are on the front lines of demanding protections for, and expanding access to, the upcoming run-off election.

 

 

 

website: Women Engaged

Logo - Women Engaged

Women Engaged

 

Founded in 2014, the mission of Women Engaged (WE) is to support the power-building of Black women and young adults. They offer leadership development opportunities, public policy advocacy, savvy communications and outreach strategies, and year round non-partisan voter engagement campaigns through their c3. WE has already begun engaging and training youth activists for voter outreach for the run-off.

 

 

 

CANDIDATE SPOTLIGHT
October 2020

GEORGIA     NORTH CAROLINA      ARIZONA

Overall Deep Democracy 2.0 Context and Landscape

In the spring of this year, we at Maria’s List laid out for you our strategy for the 2020 election cycle. Dubbed Deep Democracy 2.0, it is a quantitative and qualitative approach that seeks to identify U.S. House and State House legislative districts that hold the potential for extraordinary Democratic turnout in November. By investing in these down-ballot candidates in areas with A) power-voting centers of people of color and B) areas with high levels of college-educated voters, we're hoping to boost turnout in low-propensity, high Democratic support regions in key swing states for the President and U.S Senate races. We believe that by supporting these community-driven, women-of-color down-ballot candidates, Democrats can accomplish meaningful progressive gains at the U.S. House and state level while providing the kind of turnout needed with low-propensity voters for Democrats to take back the White House and U.S. Senate. And with the Texas GOP leading the charge in suppressing the vote of Democratic voters in these key counties and cities, it’s more important than ever to support community leaders on the ground who know how to implement key Get-Out-the-Vote programs across the state.

 

Across Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona, we’ve identified one U.S. House candidate, five State Senate candidates, and seven State Representative candidates that are running progressive, grassroots campaigns that will excite the very voters Vice President Joe Biden and four Democratic Senate candidates will need to win in November. By boosting the turnout of communities of color in partnership with the enthusiasm of college-educated voters in 2020, these candidates, campaigns, and regions can turn these states blue up and down the ballot.

 

GEORGIA

Nikki Merritt, Senate District 9
Kim Jackson, GA State Senate District 41
Matielyn Jones, GA Senate District 45

Nakita Hemingway, GA 104th State House District
Jasmine Clark, GA House of Representatives District 108
Regina Lewis-Ward, GA 109th State House District

All Georgia donate via ActBlue


website: Merritt 4 Georgia

Nikki Merritt's' photo

Nikki Merritt

Senate District 9
Women of Color State Senate Pick Up

Red to Blue INCUMBENT CHALLENGE

 

Nikki Merritt (latest campaign advertisement) grew up in Austell, GA, and attended Pebblebrook High School, the University of Georgia, and Georgia State. She is a 16-year resident of Gwinnett County and currently resides in Grayson, GA. Nikki has a twenty-three-year career in telecommunications, working in customer service, billing, and account management for AT&T. Like many, Nikki was inspired by the movement of women and women of color running for office in the wake of the election of Donald Trump. She initially got involved in voter registration efforts and local political education groups. Later, she became focused on local legislators, ways to inspire voter turnout, and the disconnect she saw in local representation. Nikki’s family has deep roots in Georgia and suffered constant disenfranchisement and political violence across the Jim Crow south. She is a proud and active union member in CWA Local 324, as well as an active member of the Gwinnett County Democrats. She is married to her husband, with two teenage children.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

Nikki received 44% as a first time candidate in the June Democratic primary, just missing the 50% threshold to avoid a runoff in a three-person contest. She easily won the runoff in August, garnering 65% of the vote.

 

SD-9 has been represented by a Republican for nearly 30 years. The current incumbent, P.K. Martin was elected in 2014 and has faced minimal opposition in his time in the position. Martin easily won re-election in 2014 with 61% of the vote, and ran unopposed in 2016. He wasn’t challenged again until 2018, when the Democratic challenger raised very little money and had little campaign infrastructure. Despite that, the Democratic candidate came within 4% of upsetting the Republican incumbent.

 

She is endorsed by Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Georgia WINList, GA AFL-CIO, Vote Mama, Atlanta North Georgia Labor Council

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: Gwinett County is perhaps the fastest shifting red-to-blue county in America, with pronounced shifts towards Democrats in all elections from 2012 to 2016 to 2018. Georgia’s 7th Congressional District will be a prime target for the DCCC and national Democrats this November. Democrats lost the seat by less than 500 votes in 2018. It is now an open seat, with the same Democratic nominee, Carolyn Bordeaux, as in 2018. 10 State House districts reside within SD-9, with six being held by Democrats.

 

Of those six, five face Republican opponents in November. Of the four Republican-held seats, three face Democratic challenges. Of particular note:

 

Campaign Status: The campaign had raised $45,000 prior to the August 11th runoff election. The incumbent held over $200,000 cash-on-hand in the August reporting period, funded by a deep array of Republican PACs and the Koch Brothers. However, Martin had over $150,000 cash-on-hand in the 2018 election and only won by less than 4% against a candidate that raised $3,000 in total.

GA Candidates

website: Jackson for Georgia

Kim Jackson's photo

Kim Jackson

Georgia State Senate District 41
OPEN SEAT

 

Kim Jackson (campaign video) is an ordained Episcopalian minister, community servant, and activist. She has lived in GA SD-71 with her wife for the last seven years. Jackson has long-aspired to run for elected office and has a strong and trusting relationship with the exiting district senator, Steve Henson.

 

In speaking with audiences that “might not traditionally consider me as a candidate,” Jackson talks about her experience working in multiracial and multi-political settings. While working fiercely to turn Georgia blue, Jackson says that “in the House and especially in the Senate, if we can’t work with Republicans, then we can’t get anything done.” She brings an extensive background in working across the aisle, having served a 3,000-member congregation that was a purple congregation (half Democratic, half Republican) directly following the Trump election, and “had to pastor both sides, and knows how to do that well.” She cites her work three years ago with a women’s policy collective to push for the processing of decades-old rape kits in Atlanta as the catalyst for her to run for office. Jackson and her wife live on what they call an “urban homestead” in Stone Mountain with bees, goats, ducks, and chickens. This is a historic election. When Jackson is elected, she will be the first openly queer Senator to hold a seat in the Georgia State Congress.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

In the 2020 primary election, Jackson ran against three other Democratic candidates, all of whom are people of color who garnered an average of 4,000 votes compared to Jackson’s approximately 14,800 (43.1% of the vote). Advisors told her it would be statistically impossible to win, especially as an out lesbian, but she blew her “number” of 7,001 votes out of the water. She won all precincts.

 

2020 brings the first Republican challenger, William Freeman, to the House seat in at least 10 years. Freeman is an Army veteran, who lives in Stone Mountain, GA. He is notably absent in least presence. William is a member of the DeKalb Republican Party. He has distanced himself from Trump in order to succeed in the district.

 

Jackson has been endorsed by the following organizations locally: Georgia Equality, Georgia 2020 WIN List, NARAL Pro-Choice Georgia, Laborers Local 515, Georgia Conservation Voters, Georgia AFL-CIO, the Georgia Association of Educators. She has been endorsed by DeKalb District Attorney Sherry Boston, Chief Justice Norman Fletcher of the GA Supreme Court (retired), Rep. Billy Mitchell, former Sen. Vincent Fort, former Rep. Simone Bell, Sen. Elena Parent, Judge Clinton Devaux (retired), Rep. Mary Maraget Oliver, Rep. Park Cannon, Rep. Karla Drenner, Rep. Sam Park, Rep. Rennitta Shannon, Rep. Matthew Wilson, Rep. Shelly Hutchinson, Rep. Bee Nguyen, and many more. Nationally, she has been endorsed by the Victory Fund, Run for Something, the Asian American Advocacy Fund, LPAC, Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, Her Term, #VOTEPROCHOICE, The Collective PAC, and the Working Families Party.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: Gwinnett County has a 20.4% deep democracy rating, and DeKalb County has a 36.8% deep democracy rating. The district overlaps with Georgia Congressional Districts GA-04, GA-06, and GA-07. Fellow Maria’s List endorsee Regina Lewis-Ward is running for the House of Representatives seat that is categorized as a Democratic flip target.

 

Politically, there has not been much of a shift over the last 8 years. New white residents have been solid liberal Democrats, including a white LGBTQ+ progressive community. Historically, a bloc of older Black voters, who are socially conservative, would have voted Republican on two issues: marriage and abortion. Now, Jackson says it is clear that “people don’t care who I’m married to, or that I’m openly pro-choice,” they’re going to vote Democrat because of President Trump.

 

SD-41 has been a blue stronghold for at least 10 years. The central challenge for the Democratic party has been ensuring that the diverse communities of the district can and do vote, and that they meaningfully build relationships throughout the area, notably in Muslim/immigrant neighborhoods.

 

Campaign Status: The campaign’s fundraising goal for the primary was $150,000, of which the campaign raised $135,000. Jackson’s opponent, William Freeman, has not filed any campaign reports with the GEC to date.

GA Candidates

website: Matielyn Jones

Matielyn Jones' photo

Matielyn Jones

Georgia State Senate District 45
Women of Color State Senate Pick-up
Red to Blue OPEN SEAT

 

Matielyn Jones (video interview) is an educator and former political campaign staffer. She was born and raised in New Orleans until her freshman year of high school, when her family moved to Norcross, Georgia. She graduated from Gwinett County Public schools and went on to attend Georgia State University. There, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and went on to receive her Master’s degree in Social Foundations of Education. Her first year of teaching social studies in New Orleans aligned with Hurricane Katrina. She instantly saw the disconnect between what she was teaching and the everyday lives of her students, and it drove her towards more direct forms of public service. In 2008, she was offered a fellowship with Barack Obama’s Presidential campaign. She went on to be a full time field organizer in North Carolina, helping turn the state blue. She taught in DC public schools, a charter school in Ohio, before finally moving back to Georgia three years ago. After working in HR for Habitat for Humanity, she has quit to campaign full-time. Matielyn is married with two sons.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

Republican Renee Unterman has represented this district since 2003. She has been unopposed in any general election her entire tenure as a State Senator. In 2018, she faced a perfunctory challenge from a candidate with a $2,000 budget that largely just did social media. That Democratic candidate still received 42% of the vote, a clear baseline floor of support for a Democrat in the district.

 

Despite being a first time candidate, Matielyn dominated the June 9th Democratic primary, receiving 61% of the vote in a three-person contest and avoiding an August run-off election.

 

She has budgeted $10,000 to texting all 65,000 voters in her win universe, as well as a mail piece to 10,000 low propensity people of color voters. Jones specifically said with another $2,800, she would expand her mail program to target a larger group of low propensity voters of color. Matielyn has a solid volunteer base, and is planning on a handwritten note no contact canvassing program.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: Gwinnett County is perhaps the fastest shifting red-to-blue county in America, with pronounced shifts towards Democrats in all elections from 2012 to 2016 to 2018. Per our Deep Democracy metrics, Gwinnett County has a rating of 20.4%, making it the 13th highest county within our prioritized Maria’s List states.

 

With so little state legislature infrastructure, it’s difficult to analyze electoral shifts below the Federal level. However, Georgia’s 7th Congressional District will be a prime target for the DCCC and national Democrats this November. Democrats literally lost the seat by less than 500 votes in 2018. It is now an open seat, with the same Democratic nominee, Carolyn Bordeaux, as in 2018.

 

Based on Jones’ campaign strategy, it is likely her voter engagement may greatly benefit the Congressional race. Her emphasis on targeting low-propensity people of color could very well be a difference maker for Democrats in GA-7. As Bordeaux may drive up turnout with college educated voters for Jones, Jones will be key to driving up voters of color, in what should be a beneficial and symbiotic relationship.

 

Campaign Status: Jones has $18,000 cash-on-hand, which is below average for a Democratic challenge in much of Georgia. This comes from a total raise of $36,000 up to the June 30th filing deadline, with $18,000 in expenditures.

GA Candidates

website: Nakita Hemingway

Nakita Hemingway's photo

Nakita Hemingway

Georgia 104th State House District
Women of Color State House Pick-up
INCUMBENT CHALLENGE

 

Nakita Hemingway (latest campaign advertisement) has lived in Georgia for her whole life. She was born in Savannah but raised in the Atlanta metropolitan area. She grew up with a single mother for a majority of her childhood and was the oldest of three children. One of the main lessons she learned in her youth that she still carries to today is to do the most with what you have and try to help as many people along the way. She is a real estate agent, entrepreneur, and farmer. She became a small business owner at the age of 21 and worked in and out of the corporate arena when income from her business wasn’t enough. She became a single mother at 23 and started college at 24 but didn’t finish her Bachelor’s in Finance until recently. Hemingway started learning more about the intricacies of government when starting farm with her husband. While navigating the regulations and other processes, she quickly realized how the government wasn’t working for regular people and small businesses owners like herself. As such, she chose to run to fight for those who have been left behind and make government work for all.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

This is Hemingway’s first time running for office. In the 2020 Democratic primary election she beat her opponent by more than double her votes, garnering over 67% of the vote.

 

She is set to face Chuck Efstration, the Republican incumbent, in the 2020 general election. He won the seat in 2013 through a special election. Since the pandemic, Hemingway has shifted to an entire digital and remote strategy. She has been using Zoom for town halls and engaging with voters. They have been handwriting postcards and have planned literature drops to homes. They are implementing a strong texting strategy and are going heavy on digital advertising.

 

Her endorsements include, but are not limited to, Stacey Abrams, Fair Fight, Asian American Advocacy Fund, National Democratic Redistricting Committee, GA WinList, and NARAL.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: HD-104 overlaps with a deep democracy district, Congressional District 7, as well as a deep democracy county, Gwinnett county. This district has long been a Republican stronghold. This seat has been held by a Republican for over four decades. However, with the recent influx of minority and immigrant families and the district being almost 50% of color, the district has been shifting blue. This district is largely upper middle class with a high proportion of college graduates. The district is almost 38% college educated, compared to the state percentage of 30%.

 

Fellow Maria’s List endorsees Matielyn Jones and Nikki Merritt are running in Senate District 9 and Senate District 45, respectively, which overlap this district. Both are Black women running against a white male Republican incumbent in a district that has long been held by Republicans and are potential targets for endorsements and donations.

 

In the 2018 election for Congressional District 7, the Democratic party candidate, Carolyn Bourdeaux, only lost by a little over 400 votes to the Republican incumbent. The 2020 race, which is currently an open seat race, has high potential to be flipped and help turnout voters for down-ballot races.

 

Campaign Status: The campaign has just raised over $30,000 with several pending fundraisers and some pending donations from organizations from which she has received endorsements. Her opponent has raised more than double Hemingway’s campaign. He has raised $203,189.34, spending $81,051.52.

GA Candidates

website: Jasmine Clark for Georgia

Jasmine Clark's photo

Jasmine Clark

Georgia House of Representatives District 108
INCUMBENT PROTECTION

 

Rep. Jasmine Clark, PhD (campaign launch video) is a trained scientist, doctor and Professor of Microbiology and Human Physiology and Anatomy at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. Clark did not grow up aspiring to work in politics; she has always been a voter, but never saw herself as a politician. Clark was the Director of the March for Science in Atlanta in April of 2017. She has spoken about being validated when she arrived in the State House in 2018, that scientific voices needed to be a part of conversations in government, notably utilizing scientific methodology to approach, analyze and solve problems, as well as the critical importance of data and asking questions. She wants to see more people with science backgrounds in politics.

 

She is the mother of two. She is an advocate for young people of color, for their leadership, and for educational equity.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

Clark notes that during the 2018 election, she won only 4 out of the 15 precincts in the district, which she calls “reliably blue.” In the 2020 primary, Clark won 58% of the vote share in the district, and won 12 total precincts by several percentage points (controlled because there were a number of Republican candidates on the ballot).

 

Clark’s opponent, Johnny Crist, is a polarizing figure in the district. Crist is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative and bigot, with his mayoral campaign centering on his being the lone opposing vote to a zoning request for a mosque in the city. He is a Christian pastor and is laser-focused on Christian supremacy. As such, his politics are not in line with the demographics or the realities of the district, which contains Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, and many other faiths. During his tenure as mayor of Lilburn, he spearheaded redevelopment efforts that ripped up public tennis courts and thousands of trees to construct 1,000 luxury townhouses and single family homes. Members of his congregation, which continued to be a white-only church, have spoken out and said that the way he preaches indicates he is not fit for office.

 

Locally, Clark has been organizing with Fair Fight Action (Stacey Abrams’ group) and the Georgia WIN List, as well as with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC). She has also been endorsed by the Georgia AFL-CIO. Nationally, she has been endorsed by 314 Action, Emily’s List, Rachel’s Action Network, Run for Something, #VOTEPROCHOICE, Planned Parenthood Southeast Advocates, and Sister District.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: HD-108 sits within Gwinnett County. It is geographically small, but very dense - it is 10 miles to drive across and contains approximately 50,000 people. It is incredibly diverse across all axes: race, ethnicity, age, occupation, income, religion and language. It overlaps with Georgia Congressional Districts GA-04 and GA-07 (of note). HD-108 resides in other key Deep Democracy districts. Fellow Maria’s List endorsee Kim Jackson is running in State Senate District 41, an open seat that has been deemed a safe Democratic seat, against a Republican opponent. Jackson has been working to support Clark’s campaign. Fellow Maria’s List endorsee Nikki Merritt is running in State Senate District 9 against PK Martin, who is popular. In Congressional District GA-07, Carolyn Bordeaux is running for a Congressional seat that DCCC has dubbed a “Red-to-Blue” seat in 2020. She is running against a QAnon Republican opponent who is heavily funded; however, she is one of the top fundraisers in Georgia.

 

In the last ten years, the county has changed from a rural, white conservative county to a majority-minority district with a diversity of communities of color, ages, and political affiliations. Clark identifies the Biden ticket, as well as the race for Congressional District GA-07, between Carolyn Bordeaux and a QAnon Republican, as litmus tests for her own success in the district. Clark’s district also overlaps with GA-04, where Hank Johnson (D) is running a safe race.

 

Campaign Status: The campaign had raised approximately $60,000 as of August 31. Per his July 9 GEC filing, her opponent had raised $19,100.00 in contributions, spent $3,237.64 and had $15,862.36 cash on hand.

GA Candidates

website: Regina Lewis-Ward

Regina Lewis-Ward's photo

Regina Lewis-Ward

Georgia 109th State House District
Women of Color State House Pick-up
INCUMBENT CHALLENGE

 

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Regina Lewis-Ward (campaign video) grew up in public housing with her parents and siblings and attended public schools. She comes from a working class family where her father was a tractor trailer driver and a member of the Teamsters Labor Union. After graduating college, she worked for the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission where she served as the shop steward for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. She later started a job at New York City Transit where she worked her way up to managerial roles. Her experiences as a Union member helped her navigate her managerial duties and build relationships on both sides. After she retired from NYC Transit, she moved to Georgia and has since lived there for over 16 years. After moving, she wanted to get involved in the community so she did a leadership class where she learned more about community stewardship. During that time, she worked with a nonprofit organization called Feed My People, which provided different resources such as clothing and food pantries to the community. This experience allowed her to learn more about her community and the struggles they faced. Currently, she is an adjunct professor of political science at the local junior college.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

This is Lewis-Ward's second time running for this district. She first ran for this seat in 2018. She won the Democratic primary with 58% of the vote, winning by just 600 votes. In the general election, she lost to the Republican incumbent by only a little over 800 votes. Although she ran unopposed in the 2020 Democratic primary, she garnered over 8,500 votes.

 

In 2016, the Democratic challenger lost the general election by over 4,000 votes. Lewis-Ward’s loss by only 800+ votes in 2018 shows that great strides have been made in this district to potentially flip blue in 2020. The Republican incumbent, Dale Rutledge, has been representing this district since 2013. Prior to Lewis-Ward, he has only been challenged in 2016 by someone who is a relative.

 

She has a long list of endorsements including, but not limited to: Warren Democrats, Fair Fight, Planned Parenthood, #VOTEPROCHOICE, Georgia Stonewall Democrats, SwingLeft, Georgia Working Families Party, AFL-CIO etc. Many more endorsements came out during mid-August because organizations were waiting till after the Georgia primary (NARAL, Emily’s List, etc). She also has support from many sitting members of the Georgia House and Senate including House Chairman James Beverly and State Senator Zahra Karinshak. She also has been the only GA candidate invited to a weekly COVID update via Facebook live hosted by the Georgia House Caucus and is invited every week.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: HD-109 does not overlap any of our deep democracy congressional districts; however, it does overlap with our deep democracy counties Newton and Rockdale. Lewis-Ward describes this district as “conservative-progressive” where it is trending and moving towards blue but still left of underlying conservativeness. Henry county has historically sent a white male delegation to the legislature but that could change with this cycle.

 

Campaign Status: As of the June 2020 campaign finance report, her campaign has raised $45,718.44 to date, has spent $4,966.96, and has $20,000 in loans. As of the June 2020 campaign finance report, Rutledge’s campaign has raised $48,480.30 and spent $42,577.09, netting only $5,903.21 left.

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North Carolina

Pat Timmons-Goodson, NC 8th Congressional District
Sydney Batch, NC House of Representatives District 37
Dr. Kimberly Hardy, NC House of Reps. District 43
Frances Jackson, NC House of Representatives Dist. 45
Aimy Steele, NC House of Representatives District 82

Arizona

Sarah Tyree, Arizona Senate District 22
Lynsey Robinson, Arizona State Senate District 12



All North Carolina donate via ActBlue

All Arizona donate via ActBlue


website: Timmons-Goodson for Congress

Pat Timmons-Goodson's photo

Pat Timmons-Goodson

NC 8th (Fayetteville, Metro Charlotte) Congressional District
Women of Color Democratic US House Pick Up

Red to Blue Pick Up INCUMBENT CHALLENCE

 

Born into a military family, Pat Timmons-Goodson (latest campaign advertisement) grew up learning the value of a strong work ethic, and as the eldest child, was expected to serve as the example for her five younger siblings. After her Father served two tours in Vietnam, he was medically discharged and soon after passed away at the age of 43. Her mother, left to raise six children on her own, instilled in Pat the values she holds to this day. Pat was one of the first African-American students to become a double North Carolina Tar Heel, earning her undergraduate and law degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Pat then made history by becoming the first African-American woman on the Supreme Court of North Carolina in 2006. After stepping down from the Supreme Court in 2012, she was appointed to the United States Commission on Civil Rights in 2014 and was nominated by President Obama in 2016 to serve as a federal judge. Despite the fact Pat was rated unanimously qualified by the American Bar Association, her nomination was blocked by Senators Richard Burr and Mitch McConnell. Despite the disappointment of that experience, Pat pledged to continue serving her community, and chose to do so by running for and securing the Democratic nomination in NC-8.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

NC-8 has been made more favorable to Democrats through court order in the redrawing of district lines that occurred in late 2019. All of Cumberland County is now within the district boundaries, an important base of Democratic support. The 8th has also lost Hudson County, which the Republican incumbent won with 76% of the vote in 2018. This trade off makes the district more competitive for Democrats, especially those that can take advantage of Cumberland’s full inclusion like Pat. The campaign is confident that victory in the 8th now goes through the now-unified county of Cumberland, with 42% of the vote total likely to come from it. This includes a large African-American population, and a growing young population of new college-educated voters.

 

Recent internal polling shows Pat within two points of the Republican incumbent 44%-42%, with Pat leading by 6% with moderate swing voters. An August 4th internal poll showed the incumbent’s approval rating below water at 27%-32%. It also has Biden only down 3% to Trump, showing their fates likely tied together in this newly competitive district compared to past cycles. The incumbent has supported the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and claims to lead the effort in Congress to do so. He voted in favor of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations, and has opposed reform efforts to lower the cost of prescription drugs. In short, Hudson has been in lock step with the Trump agenda

 

Fundraising has become critical in such an expansive district, spanning three large media markets including the very expensive markets of Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham. While Pat admits that she misses the retail aspect of campaigning that the pandemic has stolen from her and her staff, the campaign shifted strategy early and stuck to new forms of engagement. They have a robust phone-banking and text-banking operation, and recently had over 400 retweets of her latest campaign ad from her campaign twitter account.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: With the massive redistricting that has occurred on the Congressional and legislative level since 2019, past election results on a district basis are not particularly useful in North Carolina this cycle. However, it is worth noting that the Republican incumbent only won this seat by 11% in 2018. Redistricting has shifted in key Democratic voting blocs that are not only advantageous to Democrats, but also have forced Hudson to introduce himself to large sections of the newly drawn district for the time in his career. Donald Trump won the 2016 version of this district by nearly 15 points. With these new lines, this district went from a district President Trump carried by 14.8 points to a district he carried by 9.3 points overnight.

 

NC-8 holds two of the most important North Carolina Deep Democracy counties: Cumberland (17% DD rating) and Mecklenburg (28% DD rating). Especially of note in these two counties is the African-American population, which is 15% and 10% above average compared to the statewide population, respectively. This district features three State House General Assembly elections with Maria’s List Endorsed candidates:

 

Campaign Status: The campaign estimates they will need to raise $4.3 million before the end of the cycle, and have raised an impressive $3 million to date. This has included an impressive slate of small grassroots donors combined with Pat’s vast network within the legal community.

 

Up to the June filing period in 2020, the Republican incumbent had reported raising $2.3 million, with an ending cash-on-hand total of $1.7 million. $1.1 million of his raise has come from PAC donations, including oil companies, the pharmaceutical industry, and a litany of banking interests.

NC/AZ Candidates

website: Sydney Batch

Sydney Batch's photo

Sydney Batch

NC House of Representatives District 37
Women of Color State House Competitive Hold

INCUMBENT PROTECTION

 

For over a decade, Sydney Batch (latest campaign advertisement) has served as a family law attorney, child welfare advocate, and social worker. She is a small business owner, social worker and attorney. Batch and her husband own a small law firm in Wake County. She practices family law, child welfare law and appellate law, while serving in the NC House. Batch was elected as Representative for HD-37 in the North Carolina General Assembly. During the 2019- 2020 legislative session, Batch sponsored and cosponsored 48 bills, ranging from legislation to expand affordable healthcare to a bill ensuring clean drinking water for all North Carolinians. In 2018, while running for the House seat, Batch was diagnosed with cancer, and proceeded to receive treatment during her primary campaign throughout her first term in the General Assembly. She thankfully had health coverage during this time, and her cancer is now in remission. She tells this story to say, this is what other people deserve: to have care and coverage in the most trying times of their lives.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

Batch flipped the district from red to blue for the first time in 2018, winning by less than two percent of the vote (945 votes). She is the first Democrat to ever serve in the district. In this election, she is concerned with the North Carolina “pivot”: 20% of voters stop voting after statewide races. North Carolina has the third-longest ballot in the country. With such a narrow margin of winning in an “easier” district in 2018, GOTV efforts for unaffiliated and Democratic voters is critical to the campaign.

 

Her Republican opponent has an pro-Trump platform and has exclusively run attack ads against Batch (none promoting herself). According to Batch, her opponent advocates for arming teachers with guns, is anti-choice with no exceptions, is anti-birth control, and wants to defund Planned Parenthood. On the ground, people are being turned off by her rhetoric and hatefulness.

 

Batch noted a challenge because of the demographics of the district - “in pure numbers, they are Republicans.” She says that if Democrats come out to vote, then her campaign will win. If ⅓ of Independents vote for Batch, she will win. Republicans have been contacting the campaign and indicating they are disgusted with her opponent’s campaign and want to vote for her. Batch has primarily been communicating with women and college-educated women.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: Wake County has a deep democracy rating of 26.1%, driven by a high percentage of college-educated voters. HD-37 is a majority-white, well-off district. The district increasingly consists of transplants from the American north and west, including many young families and unaffiliated voters. Just outside of downtown Raleigh, the home of the state government, the district is one of the fastest-growing places in North Carolina and the fastest growing district in Wake County. However, the new maps (from 2017 and 2019 redistricting) make HD-37 slightly more favorable for Republicans and according to Flip NC remains fairly competitive for 2020.

 

In the last ten years, HD-37 has gone from a deep red to a purple district, trending more blue every election cycle. Demographically, the district has remained predominantly white, but consists of more transplants from across the country and contains many more young people and young families.

 

Batch has her eye on Black women running for office up and down the ballot across the state. She says, “when we run, we win. When women run, we win - at least when you’re a Democrat. ” She is particularly in support of fellow Maria’s List endorsees Kimberly Hardy for HD-43 and Aimy Steele for HD-82, and Emily Nicholson for HD-1.

 

Campaign Status: Per late September, the campaign had approximately $500k cash on hand. Batch estimates the campaign has raised $213k since their July filing. Per a July 18, 2020 filing with the NCSBE, the campaign had raised $378,241.85 and spent $43,884.88, with $307,493.00 cash on hand.

 

In comparison, her opponent Erin Pare had fundraised $113,051.88 per her campaign’s July NCSBE, spent $43,135.54, and had $66,817.36 cash on hand.

NC/AZ Candidates

website: Kimberly Hardy for North Carolina

Dr. Kimberly Hardy's photo

Dr. Kimberly Hardy

NC House of Representatives District 43
Women of Color State House Pick Up

OPEN SEAT

 

Raised by a police officer and a federal agent, the importance of service was instilled in Dr. Kimberly Hardy (latest campaign advertisement) from a young age. She volunteered at shelters and ran community service projects helping the homeless, with a particular focus on homeless children and families. She still runs regular food drives. Her passion for helping others led her to obtain degrees in social work from Morgan State and the Ohio State University. As a school social worker, she saw first-hand that everyone needs safe communities with opportunities to learn, build businesses, and thrive. To better advocate for families and neglected communities, she earned her PhD in Social Work from Morgan State. Dr. Hardy is a renowned expert on the role of religion and spirituality in social work and in creating stronger, healthier communities. She is now a full-time professor of Social Work at Fayetteville State University. Dr. Hardy defeated a conservative six-term incumbent in the Democratic primary to secure the nomination.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

Dr. Hardy went up against a six-term Democratic incumbent, Elmer Floyd, whose conservative bent showed in his vote for HB-2, or the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, an anti-trans bill in the House. Despite a tough race, Hardy out-won the incumbent (54% to his 49%) by approximately 700 votes, and has now won his support in her campaign. According to Hardy, this is the first time a Republican has had any viability at all in the history of the district, and the GOP sees this as a pickup opportunity, with approximately 5,000 total Republican votes cast compared to approximately 9,000 Democratic votes cast in the primary.

 

Hardy’s campaign is still reliant on grassroots relationships and organizations, despite having to move remote due to the coronavirus. Primary engagement tactics include regular Zoom events, multiple phone banks per week, postcards, mailers, textbanking, and engaging with social media.

 

Hardy has been endorsed by both President Barack Obama and Stacey Abrams. Her list of national endorsements include Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic, AFL-CIO Labor 2020, Emily’s List, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, and NARAL.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: Cumberland County has a deep democracy score of 15.8%, with a large percentage of African-American voters. However, due to the 2019 redistricting of HD-43, the district has doubled in size and taken on significantly more white, rural, conservative or undecided voters making it exceedingly more difficult for Democrats to hold. Over the last 8 years, the political identity of HD-43 has been firmly blue, but this election has introduced the distinct possibility of a Republican upset, especially with the Republican establishment backing Dr. Hardy’s opponent.

 

This district lies within U.S. House CD-8, where fellow Maria’s List endorsee Pat Timmons-Goodson is running to defeat a currently Republican incumbent. With this alignment of competitive presidential, senate, and U.S. house campaigns, HD-43 is on the frontlines of deep democracy grassroots engagement in the 2020 election cycle.

 

Campaign Status: According to the campaign, Dr. Hardy had raised approximately $270,000. Per a July 10, 2020 filing with the North Carolina State Board of Elections, the campaign had raised $142,345.33 in donations, spent $22,256.31 and had $119,881.22 cash on hand.

 

In contrast, Hardy’s opponent had raised $67,001.41 per her campaign’s July 8th filing with the NCSBE, including $52,000 of loan proceeds. With total expenditures of $64,754.20, this put her cash on hand at $2,346.21.

NC/AZ Candidates

website: Frances Jackson 2020

Frances Jackson's photo

Frances Jackson

NC House of Representatives District 45
Women of Color State House Pick Up

INCUMBENT CHALLENGE

 

Frances Jackson (latest campaign advertisement) was born and raised in North Carolina. Her father was a public school teacher who worked in the era of desegregation. He died young, leaving her mother to raise her and her siblings along. Her mother also worked as a teacher’s assistant throughout her life. Jackson attended North Carolina A&T State University and earned a Bachelor of Science in Transportation and Economics. She then attended Fayetteville State University and earned a Master of Arts in Political Science. Most recently, she earned a Ph.D. from Walden University in Public Policy and Administration. Jackson has a long and extensive career in local and county government, starting her career as a community planner. A fierce advocate for equality, she often butted heads with those around her in order to fight for people; an honorable quality that often led her to be discriminated against and mistreated. She is a magistrate and currently a full-time 6th grade social studies teacher at a local public middle school in her district. If elected, she would be the first Black person and first woman to represent the 45th district.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

In the 2020 Democratic primary election, Jackson won with almost 70% of the vote. Her opponent has held office since 2013 and is currently chairman of the House Finance committee. Despite doing very little in active campaigning, the Democratic nominee in 2018 was able to garner almost 42% of the vote. The current incumbent has consistently opposed increased school funding to raise teacher salaries and is an active opponent of Medicaid expansion.

 

As a result of the pandemic, the campaign has shifted completely to remote and digital mediums. They are currently engaging in remote avenues such as extensive phone banking, mailers and heavy digital advertisements in mediums such as television and radio. Recently, an advertisement on the radio was aired on a Christian gospel network that is popular in the African American community in her district. Her campaign also makes efforts to participate in local relief events such as food distribution to support the community during the pandemic as well as spread her name and message. Jackson’s endorsements include, but are not limited to, Equality NC, Emily’s List, Now or Never NC, AFL-CIO, and Sister District Project.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: HD-45 is located in the Deep Democracy county of Cumberland and encompasses the city of Fayetteville and Fayetteville metro area. This district overlaps congressional districts 8 and 9, which includes fellow Maria’s List endorsee Pat Timmons-Goodson in CD-8. As a longtime resident, the campaign says that the area has historically leaned more red. In the 2008 elections, Obama did not win here, however, the area has moved blue steadily over time as communities of color have moved in and engaged with the community. Cumberland County is a key county for several Maria’s List candidates, including Jackson, Timmons-Goodson, and Dr. Kimberly Hardy. The Cumberland County Commissioner race has two women running for two of three seats as well. Karla Icaza De Austin and Toni Stewart would be the first women of color, Latina and Black respectively, to hold a seat on this board if they win the election.

 

Campaign Status: As of late September, Jackson’s campaign has raised over $375,000 with a goal of $525,000. They expect to get help from the caucus to help fill the gap, especially with the addition of television and radio advertisements leading to an increase in expenditures.

 

As of July 5, 2020, her incumbent has raised $263,213.91 and has spent $70,344.68. The campaign had $211,238.66 cash-on-hand.

NC/AZ Candidates

website: Aimy Steele 2020

Aimy Steele's photo

Aimy Steele

NC House of Representatives District 82
Women of Color State House Pick Up

Red to Blue INCUMBENT CHALLENGE

 

Aimy Steele (latest campaign advertisement) was born and raised in Houston, Texas. Her parents were both in the military with whom she traveled and lived in many countries before eventually returning to Texas. She eventually settled in North Carolina where she graduated from high school and University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In university, she majored in Spanish and subsequently went onto becoming a teacher. Along the way, she also became a real estate broker. Steele sees her path to service primarily through her work as an educator. She became an assistant principal at a local high school, through which she was able to complete her Masters in School Administration. She moved to work at a middle school where she was promoted to principal and later moved to an elementary school as a principal there as well. It was at the elementary school where she encountered various issues as their principal that would ignite her desire to run for office. If elected, she would be the first Black person and woman to represent the 82nd district.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

This is Steele’s second time running for state office. She first ran in 2018 against the nine-term Republican incumbent, losing by less than 2,000 votes. Her 2018 campaign saw one of the highest increases in African-American turnout for the district in generations. In 2020, Steele is facing an appointed Republican incumbent after the previous longtime representative passed away in early 2020. The current incumbent is a Trump-supporting Republican who is staunchly anti-choice and anti-Medicaid expansion.

 

For this election, the campaign has gone completely remote. They are making between 1500 and 2000 phone calls every week and have an active text messaging campaign. They also have a strong digital media presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Hulu, and Youtube. They are making 10,000 literature drops in conjunction with local Democratic partners. Steele has an impressive list of national endorsements from, but not limited to, the Sierra Club, AFL-CIO, EqualityNC, Emily’s List, #VOTEPROCHOICE, and Lillian’s List. Flip NC is working to help make phone calls for her campaign, while Postcards4NC is working to mail out 10,000 postcards.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: HD-82 overlaps with congressional districts 8 and 12, two key Deep Democracy districts due to the high level of college educated residents and communities of color. In particular, it overlaps with deep democracy counties Cumberland and Mecklenburg, sharing precincts with fellow Maria’s List endorsee Pat Timmons-Goodson in CD-8. With these overlaps, HD-82 and the Steele campaign are at the epicenter of a critical turnout region for President, U.S. Senate, and the U.S. House.

 

HD-82 used to be a majority white district that has steadily grown more diverse over the years with the influx of educated families looking for better schools for their school-aged children. A number of nonprofit voter engagement groups have prioritized HD-82 for both Steele’s campaign as well as the ability to affect key Democratic races up and down the ballot. They include several local organizations such as the Black Political Caucus (Cabarrus County Chapter), Down Home North Carolina (Cabarrus County Chapter) and County to County (project of Orange County Democratic Party) who are focused on voter turnout and registration.

 

Campaign Status: According to the campaign, they had raised $406,000 as of mid-September, with a full cycle goal of $800,000. Comparatively, 5 months prior to election day in 2018, Steele’s campaign only had raised $10,000.

 

As of July 10, 2020, Steele’s opponent had raised over $113,539,with $44,706.93 cash-on-hand.

NC/AZ Candidates

website: Tyree for AZ

Aimy Steele's photo

Sarah Tyree

Arizona Senate District 22
Women of Color State House Pick Up

Red to Blue INCUMBENT CHALLENGE

 

Born and raised in Arizona, Sarah Tyree (video interview) grew up in a Republican and single parent household. She struggled to connect to her identity as a black woman with her reality as the only person of color in her house. Surviving abuse and poverty, she ended up in the foster-care system, an experience largely informing her platform on child safety. After graduating high school, she joined the United States Army and served for 8 years. Following her service, she received her undergraduate degree with double majors in Social Work and Political Science from the Austin Peay State University. She also completed her Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania. Her professional experience largely lies in the nonprofit sector. She worked at the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition as their Policy and Public Information Manager where she dove into domestic violence policy while having her own experiences with domestic violence. Subsequently, she was evicted from her home and experienced a period of homelessness. These lived experiences have informed her of many interconnected injustices in and outside of her community.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

This is Tyree’s first time running for state office. Although she won the Democratic primary election with no competition, the race had a historic vote count of almost 24,000 voters. Her campaign has a group of 20 volunteers text and phone banking every week. Tyree has personally been reaching out to inactive voters, a group amounting to 4,000 people. The campaign has used robocalls that reached around 60,000 people and were able to do literature drops to 40,000 households. Tyree does not use call time for fundraising; rather, she uses time on digital media and zoom calls for voter engagement.

 

Tyree also has a long list of endorsements from groups such as, but not limited to, Arizona’s List, RunforSomething, American Federation of Teachers, National Organizations for Women - Arizona, Justice for Police Reform, and Equality Arizona.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: LD-22 overlaps with congressional districts 4 and 8, the latter of which is a deep democracy district. Maricopa county is also a deep democracy county. This district has historically been a retirement community with a large presence of residents over the age of 65. LD-22 has been a longtime Republican district but has steadily shifted to purple with the influx of new types of constituents. In the last decade, many families, young adults, and college-educated individuals have moved in changing the demographics of the district. 36.3% of the district has a Bachelor’s degree or higher. This proportion is higher than the statewide proportion of 28.9%.

 

Campaign Status: The campaign has raised $30,000 as of the September filing period, with the current Republican incumbent raising $60,000 in the same time period.

NC/AZ Candidates

website: Lynsey Robinson 4 Arizona

Lynsey Robinson's  photo

Lynsey Robinson

Arizona Senate District 12
Women of Color State House Pick Up

Red to Blue INCUMBENT CHALLENGE

 

Lynsey Robinson (latest campaign advertisement) was born in Haiti, but grew up in New York. She lived almost 20 plus years as a DREAMer and struggled to find resources to go to college. As a result of the Violence Against Women Act which protected her from deportation, she secured financial aid to afford college. She started a family and eventually became a public school teacher. However, she maintained a passion for the law and returned to law school. While facing similar financial struggles, she was able to finish her law degree with help of the Obama administration’s change on student lending practices. Lynsey has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Albany, a Master’s degree in Secondary Education from the University of Phoenix, and a Juris Doctorate from Arizona Summit Law School. She is running for public office in order to engage more directly with laws and ensure that whatever legislation is written does not marginalize vulnerable populations. If elected, she would be the first woman of color to hold the seat.

 

On the Issues

 

Status of Race

This is Robinson’s second time running for office. In 2018, she ran for one of two seats to the Arizona State House of Representatives in the same district just falling short of election. Her incumbent opponent has an overtly conservative record on the issues, including voting against coverage for pre-existing conditions during the pandemic and refusing to raise unemployment benefits.

 

Robinson is running a Clean Elections campaign via public financing, meaning she is not currently accepting individual donations during the general election. To reach out to voters, her campaign is running a target outreach program utilizing literature drops, text messaging, and television commercials. They have dropped over 30,000 mailers in the district and sent 75,000 text messages to targeted voters and independent voters to get early ballots. She has upcoming commercials on education, economy, and infrastructure that will be airing on television this month as well. Her text banking program isn’t just generic texts about voting, but personal messages asking voters how they’ve been doing in the pandemic, seeing how voters are feeling on the ground, and what their biggest needs are at this moment. Robinson strongly prioritizes and values voter engagement so this method of text banking aligns with how she wants to speak to voters.

 

Robinson also has a long list of endorsements from groups such as, but not limited to, Arizona’s List, Equality Arizona, AFL-CIO, Save Our Schools - Arizona, and Our Voice Our Vote.

 

Deep Democracy Dynamics of Race: LD-12 overlaps with Maricopa and Pinal county, the former of which is a deep democracy county. This district also overlaps with congressional districts 4 and 5, the latter of which is a deep democracy district. This is a highly educated district with 42.2% of the district having a Bachelor’s degree or higher. This percentage is almost 14% higher than the proportion of college educated individuals in the state. Other notable elections include a county attorney race, where Julie Gunningle is running for Maricopa County attorney. She has previously run for a seat in the state legislature in 2018. She is running on a progressive reform platform and is advocating for various policies such as raise-the-age and dismissing low-level marijuana charges in order to mitigate the racial disparities in the criminal legal system.

 

Campaign Status: As a Clean Elections Candidate, Robinson is fully funded by the nonpartisan state commission with public financing. Her opponent has raised around $85,000.

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