How Democrats Who Lost in Deep-Red Places Might Have Helped Biden


Democrats in the state are gearing up to try to re-elect Gov. Laura Kelly, and Ben Meers, the executive director of the Kansas Democratic Party, said he hoped to test the theory. He said that having Democrats campaign in deep-red districts required a different type of field organizing.

“There are some counties where if the state party can’t find a Democrat, we can’t have an organized county party, because the area is so red,” he said. “But if we can run even the lone Democrat we can find out there, and get a few of those votes to come out — you know the analogy: A rising tide lifts all Democratic ships.”

Some Democratic strategists in Kansas noticed that phone-bank canvassers had more success with voters during the general election when they focused on congressional and local candidates, rather than headlining their calls with Mr. Biden. They’re hoping that building local connections in the state will help Ms. Kelly’s campaign.

In Georgia, Run for Something believes that Ms. Carter’s presence on the ballot significantly helped Mr. Biden’s performance in her area of the state. While the group said that district-level data alone could be misleading, and needed to be combined with other factors taken into account in its analysis, Mr. Biden averaged 47 percent of the vote in the three counties — Newton, Butts and Henry — in which Ms. Carter’s district, the 110th, sits. That was five percentage points better than Hillary Clinton’s performance in 2016.

Ms. Carter said she had tried to start grass-roots momentum in the district. “For me, running for office was never an ambition,” she said. “It was more so out of the necessity for where I live.”

Ms. Carter’s district has grown exponentially during the last decade, bringing with it changing demographics and different approaches to politics. She knew through previous political organizing and her own campaigning that many people in her district, including friends and family, didn’t know when local elections were, why they were important or what liberal or conservative stances could look like at a local level.

Ms. Carter said she spent a lot of time during her campaign trying to educate people on the importance of voting, especially in local races that often have more bearing on day-to-day life, like school and police funding.

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