We founded Progressive Takeover to target the most competitive state-level races in the country. Our programs use the latest in research-backed mobilization strategies and data-driven field tactics to increase Democratic voter turnout in key contests.

In 2017, together with our affiliated organization Progressive Turnout Project, we sent 42 field representatives into 10 targeted state house districts in Virginia. Our programs were hugely successful — we flipped all 10 districts from Republican to Democratic control.

In 2018, we spent $1 million in Wisconsin and North Carolina, helping to successfully elect:

  • all five statewide Constitutional offices in Wisconsin (Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Treasurer, and Secretary of State)
  • Anita Earls to the North Carolina Supreme Court and Ray Russell to the NC House

Wisconsin voters saw our messages — in person, in their mailboxes, on the phone, and online — 10 million times.

Why State Races?

Even though Democrats have taken back the U.S. House, 30 state houses across the country are under Republican control. (Minnesota’s legislature is split, and Nebraska’s is officially nonpartisan.)

Between 2008 and 2010, Democrats lost control of 23 legislative bodies across the country. And 2010 was a crucial year: after that year’s Census, Republican-controlled legislatures were able to redraw district maps to benefit their party in state and federal elections.

Our current maps are some of the worst our nation has ever seen, and multiple states are currently facing legal challenges regarding the legality of their maps.

It’s not just gerrymandering, though. Republican state legislators are working hard to chip away at voting rights, reproductive rights, and more. And state judges will be ruling on all those issues, too.


States will redistrict again after the 2020 Census. That means if Democrats don’t take back state houses, this country will suffer through another decade of unfair, Republican-drawn maps. Democrats need to win state legislative seats in 2019 and 2020 to have a say in redistricting.

As we saw in 2018, progressive voters are fired up and energized to take our government back. All over the country we are seeing previously “safe” Republican seats becoming competitive and often ​won ​by Democratic candidates. 2020 is the next big opportunity for us to elect strong, progressive Democrats in the states.