Q: Why is Our Shot NC raising early-stage money?
The amount of money a candidate raises during the initial stage of their campaign often determines what type of campaign they will be able to run. To give a candidate their best chance, seed money helps them to hit the ground running when they announce their candidacy. Support that begins at an early stage in the campaign cycle sets the stage for the campaign, and can be the difference between success and failure of a campaign.
Even for good candidates, seed money is difficult to raise. Major donors often wait to see how much a candidate can raise before making their investments. The Democratic Caucus does not give financial support until the final stages of a campaign. In order to be competitive in the end, candidates must build financial momentum and demonstrate they are competitive by hiring a quality campaign manager, conducting reliable polling, developing a communications plan, and doing grassroots community engagement, all of which cost money.
Q: Why is Our Shot NC focusing on NC House District races?
We are focusing efforts the NC House of Representatives for two reasons. First, the number of seats we would need to gain to break the supermajority in the NC House is four. In the NC Senate, we would need to gain six additional seats, and Senate seats are both larger and more difficult to win. Second, the average cost of a NC House campaign is about $250,000, whereas Senate races can easily cost two to three times that or more. The money we raise together through Our Shot NC can go further in NC House District races.
Q: Who are the candidates and how will they be selected?
We have partnered with Representative Graig Meyer from NC House District 50. He is the current recruitment chair for the NC Democratic House Caucus and is leading statewide candidate recruitment efforts through the NCDP’s Pipeline Project, and in partnership with Lead NC, Lillian’s List, National Democratic Training Committee, and other organizations. In addition to targeted recruitment efforts, these organizations provide leadership development and campaign training for quality candidates. Through these channels, potential candidates are being identified and prepared for all of the competitive House Districts in North Carolina.
Candidates we support must run on platforms that strongly support fair elections and non-partisan redistricting, access to quality public education and health care, equal rights protections, access to good jobs, and a safe environment.
Q: How many candidates will Our Shot NC support
The reality is that we will need to invest in more than four races in order to ensure that we achieve the goal of breaking the Republican supermajority in the NC House of Representatives. To win back the House Democrats would need to gain 15 seats. We will know how many District House races total will be competitive after we know whether there are new legislative district maps and what the maps look like. If you help us raise enough money to fund Democratic candidates running in ALL competitive races, that is what we promise to do.
Q: Why is Our Shot NC fundraising right now during a non-election year?
The 2018 elections are the best chance Democrats have had since 2010 to take back the majority in the North Carolina General Assembly. Building on the success of Governor Roy Cooper’s victory in 2016, we want to help make sure that Democratic legislative campaigns are successful in 2018.
The Supreme Court is currently holding a case that could result in new legislative maps being drawn prior to the 2018 elections. These maps would make it easier for Democrats to pick up seats. However, potential candidates cannot announce campaigns until the lines are drawn and they know what district they live in. In addition, candidates may be hesitant to publicly announce plans to run for fear of being drawn out of their district. However, as a PAC, Our Shot NC can fundraise for them now so that when they announce we can provide them with immediate support!
Q: How do I know that my giving counts?
Our PAC is run by a cohort of incredibly dedicated volunteers. We have no paid staff and have minimal operational costs. Contributions received will go directly to the candidates to support their campaigns. Therefore, you can feel confident that the maximum amount of your donation will directly fund the candidates.
Q: How can I make a difference if I already live in a progressive community?
Some of us are fortunate to live in communities where we have an abundance of progressive resources and excellent representation in the NC legislature. We must channel our resources across our state. By supporting Democrats running in competitive races in other districts, we can help get more Democrats elected into the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) and break the GOP supermajority. Getting more Democrats elected that share our values also supports our local Representatives by giving them more legislative power and putting them in position to best represent us.
Q: Even if I do not live in North Carolina, why is it important to support this cause?
The NCGA has 120 state House Districts and 50 state Senate Districts. Due to the effects of extreme gerrymandering in our state, Republicans currently hold supermajorities in both the NC House (74 to 46) and the NC Senate (35 to 15). The result is that the Republicans can unilaterally introduce and pass legislation, as well as override our Governor’s veto.
Congressional district maps are drawn and approved by the majority party in the NCGA. If Democrats can win back the NC House, we can negotiate for fair non-partisan redistricting following the 2020 census. Currently, despite North Carolinians voting approximately 54% Republican, due to gerrymandering the Republicans control 77% (10 out of 13) of our Congressional seats. This creates a greater imbalance in partisan representation in our US Congress, and that affects all of us.
Please take a moment to read Graig Meyer’s article, The Road to National Democratic Revival Goes Through North Carolina, to best understand the importance of gaining additional Democratic seats in the NCGA.