Mon. May 20th, 2024

Democratic tech group aims to shake up Republican statehouses in 2024

By 37ci3 Apr13,2024



Technology for campaignsA Democratic organization of tech industry workers seeking to influence state elections is widening the playing field to include six states where Republicans hold majorities in state legislatures.

Jessica Alter, co-founder and chairman of the organization, said in an interview starting this year Technology for campaigns will devote resources to legislative candidates in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and Texas, in addition to the swing states the organization previously focused on, such as Arizona and Michigan.

The move is part of a new, long-term strategy the organization calls “The Next Ten”: targeting Republican-dominated state capitals where Democrats may have a chance to swing control of the state legislature over the next 10 years.

Tech for Campaigns consists of 17,000 tech workers concentrated in coastal cities like San Francisco and New York but volunteering to help Democrats remotely in state legislative races. They say they use it this year artificial intelligence helping you create ads and fundraising emails that allow you to stretch resources further than ever before.

The organization is pro-Democrat, a low point for the party in 2017, when progressive tech workers in Democratic states decided to think more strategically about helping down-ballot candidates across the country.

Alter said the organization filled a gap where other Democratic organizations could not invest.

“These places are even more valuable because they are a bit overlooked. No one is knocking on their door to help,” he said.

Unlike Campaigns for Tech, many conservative tech figures have pulled back from getting involved in the 2024 election compared to previous years, but Republican groups have also specifically he said they use artificial intelligence technology in their election efforts.

Republicans hold majorities in every house in six of the Democratic group’s “Next Ten” state capitals, and in some states they hold super-majorities. In North Carolina, that meant Republicans could to surpass Any veto by Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper if they stay together. But the chamber is split 30-20, and if Democrats pick up a seat and retain the governorship, they could take away the Republican lead.

“So the plan this year is not to change, say, the North Carolina Senate, where we work very closely, but to disrupt the majority,” Alter said.

Democratic state Sen. Jay Chaudhuri said the party’s long-term plan to make North Carolina competitive involves getting new district maps, which would likely require more Democrats to be elected to the state’s highest court. A new Republican majority on the state Supreme Court last year is allowed the new maps are more favorable to Republicans.

Chaudhuri said Tech for Campaigns was able to help about five state Senate campaigns this year, with more help expected in the coming years.

“Too often, progressive and Democratic donors focus more on the presidential level than the state legislative level. “They have paid more attention to winning during the election period than winning in the decade.”

The stakes are rising given the serious challenges facing state lawmakers abortion for election administration for LGBTQ rights. And with more than 7000 people serve There is no shortage of candidates with extreme views in state legislatures.

“You see people who have signed a pledge to take Texas out of the union. You have people backed by groups that want to execute people for having abortions,” said Dylan Doody, executive director of the Texas House Democratic Campaign Committee. two Continue disputes in the state.

In the end, Democrats in Texas have some options, Doody said, and he thinks Tech for Campaigns’ help could give them the upper hand.

“They’re thinking ahead of where a lot of organizations, the old money, are thinking,” he said.

For campaigns, technology helps state legislative candidates in a variety of ways. It assigns volunteers to work closely with campaigns on specific tasks, such as website design. Those volunteers also provide ongoing assistance with email fundraising and digital advertising — often using their day jobs at tech companies large and small. Some help candidates in the states they grew up in, while others have nothing to do with where they focus their volunteer hours.

The organization also has a political action committee that it uses for voter turnout efforts separate from campaign work. During the 2020 campaign period, he spent $10.5 million, with $6.1 million going to buy ads with Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, according to the nonpartisan research site. OpenSecrets. The organization said that its budget for 2024 will be 10-14 million dollars for all its programs. Its donors include OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Netflix CEO Greg Peters, although according to OpenSecrets, its top donors were tech investors Jessica Livingston, who gave $5 million, and Michael Duka, who gave $1.6 million.

That money and help from volunteers can go further in a state legislative race than a race for the U.S. Senate, especially where state legislators aren’t used to outside help.

Texas state Rep. James Talarico said some of his Democratic colleagues have shoestring budgets, but he said he needs $1 million to run in a competitive Texas House district.

“There are groups nationwide that will support you and support you – submit their names, put you on the website – that’s great, and any help is appreciated, but there are very few groups that provide financial assistance, whether it’s dollars or volunteers or communications support, and Tech For Campaigns provides all three,” he said.

Talarico said he’s familiar with claims going back years that Democrats are on the verge of turning Texas “blue” — claims that have consistently turned out to be untrue — and he said what’s missing is financial aid.

“I’ve come across other organizations that want to see Texas go blue, but not many that offer financial assistance to make it happen,” he said.



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By 37ci3

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