Communications and Research Coordinator Murphy Bannerman and Executive Director Charlie Fisher of the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (ADLCC) are both optimistic that Democrats will take over one or both of the State Houses in this November’s elections, based on four reasons:
- There is a record number of 114 Democratic candidates (just over half of whom are women and 51 are people of color).
- There is a groundswell of progressive enthusiasm after the election of Donald Trump.
- The Red for Ed movements has galvanized educators and school employees to support Democratic candidates.
- District snapshots, conducted by the ADLCC, that shows targeted districts that are “likely to flip from red to blue.”
The ADLCC, an arm of the Arizona state Democratic Party that coördinates with the county and local district offices, was designed to help recruit, throughout the year, Democratic Candidates to run for every Legislative District (LD) State Representative and State Senate seat. They are also tasked with providing training on how to run and budget a political campaign. Their only focus is on state legislative seats.
(They are not involved with statewide offices like Governor, Attorney General, or US Senator. They do not aid in National Congressional races either. They also are not involved in promoting ballot initiatives, leaving that to the candidates to endorse if they want.)
While there is no litmus test for the ADLCC in recruiting Democratic candidates, it is understood that the recruits are expected to support Democratic issues like funding public education, increasing good paying jobs, quality and affordable health care, and a woman’s right to choose. They want candidates who will work hard, fit in with the temperament of their district and will offer solutions to issues in that legislative area. They do not endorse any candidates during the primary contests, and they wait for those election results before choosing who they will support.
After the primaries, the ADLCC conducts polling and analyzes the districts, looking for which candidates need assistance and where the electoral map can be expanded. They acknowledge that with finite resources, they can only focus on the races with a chance of turning blue.
Building toward the November elections, the ADLCC will keep up an aggressive get-out-the-vote campaign geared towards a potential “reverse coattails” effect where strong legislative candidates build margins that help the Democratic gubernatorial and other statewide, and national congressional contestants emerge victoriously. With Democratic enthusiasm at record levels and with the local and national Republican brand now in disfavor, the leaders of the ADLCC are confident that 2018 will be a breakout year for Democratic legislative candidates in Arizona.