Planning for the next major elections in 2020 does not start in 2020. It actually started for most Legislative District (LD), County, State, and National Party Apparatuses in December 2018 and January 2019. At the LD level, organizational officers are either reelected or elected. Precinct Captains are asked to stay on while others are recruited. New candidates for local, state, and national offices are scouted and vetted. Voter Registration drives are organized and fundraising never ceases.
Legislative District 20 is located within parts of Phoenix and Glendale. In 2018, Democrats continued improving on their electoral performances coming within striking distance of the districts two state house seats and single senate position. Maricopa County Democratic Party Chair Steve Slugocki feels this LD is poised to “flip” one or more seats in 2020. According to Janet Wilson, the LD 20 Party Chair, there are more Independents than Republicans and Democrats in the district.
Ms. Wilson graciously spoke with The Blog for Arizona and discussed her LD’s performance last November and the district’s goals for the future and the 2020 election.
The questions and her responses are below.
- Please assess your LD’s performance in the 2018 elections.
“We did a fabulous job and made great strides. All the Democratic Candidates were Clean Election Candidates. We picked up 8.2 % in the vote for the LD Senate. We knocked on tens of thousands of doors. Candidates knocked on 30,000 of the doors themselves not including the volunteers like Red for Ed.” Ms. Wilson predicts that the district will flip in 2020 with close margins.
- In terms of moving forward, what are two things you would do the same in preparing for the 2020 election cycle?
“Our nominees came together (in 2018). We did everything together. Our tag line (in the next election) will be “Together in 20”. We reached out to everyone in the community and will continue with our successes. We will grow on the momentum started after the 2016 election where we had 18 PCs at the start and by the 2018 election, our LD’s PC population tripled in size. For this cycle, I’d like to see us continue to recruit more PCs and double our PC count least 100 PCs.“
- In terms of moving forward, what are two things you would do differently in preparing for the 2020 election cycle?
“We want to 1) see us recruiting more volunteers earlier in the cycle 2) get more involved in active fundraising 3) partner more readily with other Democratic Progressive clubs that can help out with recruitment and fundraising.”
- Will you expect the same candidates that ran in 2018 to run again?
“Not sure. It is a little early and you need to check back. Every one of the candidates (from 2018) have taken an active role in the LD.”
- Please explain:
A) Method for recruiting P.C.’s:
“We have already added 13 new PCs to our LD and we are making a more concerted effort in reaching out to volunteers who helped us during the last election cycle. We are promoting a more extensive digital presence and have started broadcasting our meetings through Facebook Live. Our goal is to double the number of PCs from 50 to 100 by 2020. We need to make sure that we have someone in every precinct and making good progress there. We will also promote by word of mouth and email. We will also provide additional training which complements what is provided the county party by partnering with neighboring LD’s (15, 20, 21, 22). In fact, we will have our first PC & Volunteer training session in early March and then we will have a VAN training session later in March. By offering these additional training opportunities, we are demonstrating to our commitment to both current and future PCs which will hopefully grow our base.
B) Method for recruiting candidates if the same ones do not run again.
“We have a candidate recruitment committee already started in 2019 as we locate candidates for all positions including school board and constable. Democrats won the school board races in the Glendale races.
“ We need to start earlier and increase monthly recurring donations. For example, our entire executive board is donating on a monthly reoccurring basis, as we lead by example. We already have plans to launch our first annual Desserts, Wine, and Arts Silent Auction fundraiser this Spring. My hope is that when we offer more social and community outreach events, we’ll gain a followership which will translate into more donations.”
“ We will be partnering with other organizations like Indivisible along with our own outreach in the community. We are actively seeking them out to help out with PEVL Drives (voters are more likely to vote when they are on the on the early voting list).”
“Our new board is full of great new ideas and activists. We are really looking forward to 2020. One thing that we can thank Trump for is for increasing progressive activism.”
Ms. Wilson is correct that the Electoral College election of Donald Trump partially ignited activism in the Democratic sphere. The behavior and actions of conservative officeholders in national and local offices, even in the aftermath of the Democratic surge in the 2018 elections, also fuel the Democratic appetite to recapture total control of all local and national levers of power.
To accomplish the goal of totally retaking control of the government, the work and preparation need to start now at the local level and build upward throughout the county, state, and national party apparatuses. Ms. Wilson and the rest of LD 20 staff and participants are laying the groundwork to move forward to accomplish this end. It appears to be a sound strategy that could result in Democrats winning seats in 2020.