Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee

The Friday Five - June 22, 2018

The Friday Five - June 22, 2018

For the Week of 6/22/2018

Democrats in statehouses across the country are fighting to move America forward. In case you missed it, here are some statehouse highlights from this week:

1.    Nevada might get the first female-majority state legislature in U.S. history

This November, Nevada is poised to become the first state to have a female-majority state legislature in American history. Since the DLCC and Nevada Democrats flipped both legislative chambers from red to blue in 2016, significant progress has been made on critical issues like expanding access to health care, safeguarding women’s rights, improving public schools, protecting the environment, and more. This November, seven of the 11 Democratic nominees for the Nevada Senate are women, and 24 of the 37 Democratic nominees for the Nevada Assembly are women. With the number of women incumbent Senators not up for reelection this year, combined with the influx of women running for both Nevada chambers, both legislative chambers could be led by a majority of women. Democratic women are stepping up to run for state legislatures in record numbers nationwide, and the DLCC is committed to helping these women lead the fight against the extreme right-wing policies peddled by the Trump administration and its allies in statehouses.

2.    A record number of LGBTQ candidates are running for office. Here’s why.

This election cycle, more than 400 LGBTQ candidates are running for office - the greatest number ever recorded. Inspired by Virginia Democratic Delegate Danica Roem, who, after winning her election last year, became the only openly transgender state legislator in the nation, candidates like DLCC Spotlight candidate JD Ford in Indiana are running to fight back against Republicans’ “legislative bullying” of the LGBTQ community, and protect the progress state Democrats have so far made to ensure equal rights for all Americans. By working to elect more LGBTQ candidates to statehouses nationwide, the DLCC is committed to increasing the visibility and governing powers of underrepresented communities and leading the fight against discriminatory policies.

3.    Supreme Court sends redistricting case back to lower court, leaving GOP-friendly map in place

On Monday, the Supreme Court refused to strike down the Republican-gerrymandered electoral map of Wisconsin, sending the case back to federal district court. By choosing not to take a stand, the Supreme Court failed American voters by enabling Republicans to further “entrench themselves in power against the people’s will.” However, with nearly 800 seats on the ballot during the midterm elections that will play a key role in 2021 redistricting and the DLCC only 17 seats away from flipping eight chambers, the DLCC will continue to work with its partners and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee to ensure that voters are empowered to choose their representatives, not the other way around. Just as it did in Virginia last fall and throughout this cycle, the DLCC is prepared to flip seats in November and beat Republicans on their own unfair maps.

4.    Republicans Move To Remake Court After Gerrymandering Case

Pennsylvania Senate Republicans are up to their sketchy antics again. After the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the state's horrendously-gerrymandered congressional districts as a violation of citizens' rights to free and fair elections, Republicans sought revenge and tried to impeach the justices. Now, they are trying to pull another stunt: passing a bill to change the way Pennsylvania elects its Supreme Court justices so they can pack the bench with Republicans before the next round of redistricting. With GOP-drawn maps being struck down in courts across the country and the DLCC continuing to flip seats from red to blue, Republicans are trying everything to retain their power. We must stand together this November and fight to elect Democrats to statehouses nationwide to protect our democracy from these right-wing schemes.

5.   Judge Rejects Kansas Law Requiring Voters to Show Proof of Citizenship

This week a federal judge struck down one of the most restrictive voting laws in the country. Passed in 2011 by Kansas Republicans and championed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, this unconstitutional law required Kansans to show proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote. Disguised as an effort to prevent voter fraud, the law disenfranchised citizens who did not have access to the required documents. Although this decision is a victory for voting rights, it highlights Republicans' desperate efforts to suppress voter participation in our democracy, and underscores the importance of electing more Democrats to state legislatures nationwide. The DLCC is committed to flipping chambers and building Democratic power in states to prevent laws like this from being passed in the first place, and to help ensure the ballot box is accessible to every American.

- DLCC Adds New Races To Watch in 2018 [DLCC Press Release]
- Statement from DLCC Executive Director on Gill v. Whitford [DLCC Press Release]
- Independent redistricting proposal to appear on November 2018 ballot [MLive]
- John Nichols: Scott Walker's attack on democracy blew up in his face[The Cap Times]

"I had decided that I’d had enough. [The legislators] weren’t listening, and something’s got to be done. They’re giving corporate giveaways right and left in Oklahoma, and our children and schools are suffering."
-- Cyndi Ralston, candidate for Oklahoma HD-12

In the wake of teacher walkouts around the nation in red states in response to budget cuts, overcrowded classrooms, and slashed salaries, teachers like Cyndi and Spotlight Races candidates Aimy Steele, Christine Marsh, Jasmine Clark, Harrison Kanzler, and more are running for their state legislatures to make quality public education a priority among legislators. With their experience as educators, they are uniquely qualified in how to best advocate for students and tackle the issues facing our education system .

6/26/18:   Primary Elections in Colorado, Maryland, Oklahoma, Utah

6/26/18:   Runoff Elections in Mississippi, South Carolina