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The job of turning Georgia BLUE is expensive in part because Georgia is geographically the largest state east of the Mississippi River and the ninth most populous state in the nation, with 10.5 million people. The Georgia General Assembly has 180 House members and 56 Senators, the third largest in the nation behind only New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

Surprisingly, some much larger states have far smaller legislatures. Florida has a 40 member Senate and a 120 member House, while California has a 40 member Senate and an 80 member House. In fact, California State Senators represent more citizens than a member of Congress and typically have larger staffs.  

The population for a Georgia house district ranges from about 52,000 to 56,000 and for a Senate seat from 155,000 to 170,000. Historically, Georgia has been one of the nation’s least competitive for legislative races, but that all changed in 2018. While the national average for legislators who seek re-election facing no opposition from the opposition party hovers at about 38 percent, in Georgia the number was 80 percent in 2014 and 2016 and 76 percent in 2012. However, in November 2018, 95 of 236 seats were contested, with many Republicans who had not seen a serious contest in years, sometimes decades, facing a challenge.

With widely ranging variances in population density and the cost and size of television markets, there is no real way to generalize what it costs to run for office in Georgia because a successful bid for city of Atlanta council or school board seat may cost two or three times as much as running for a legislative seat in a rural area of the state.

However, it generally takes more than $250,000 to FLIP a metro Senate seat and more than $100,000 to FLIP a metro House seat.

You might ask what candidates spend the money on. Here are cost estimates for several different forms of voter outreach:

  • $1,000 funds 75 hours of paid canvassing to reach 2,250 households
  • $500 funds printing of 2,500 pieces of campaign literature
  • $250 funds postage for 700 pieces of mail
  • $100 funds 30 union shop printed yard signs
  • $75 funds a Facebook ad designed to reach an audience of 4,000
  • $50 funds 150 buttons or 200 bumper stickers
  • $25 funds 35 paid live phone calls to likely voters or water & snacks for a team waving campaign signs at a heavily traveled major intersection

Radio and television ad costs vary widely between media markets, station demographics and the time of day ads run. In some markets, commercial television or radio ads are cost prohibitive. In others, candidates find specifically targeted cable television purchases or radio ads a wise investment. Friday night high school football game coverage on local cable stations are a favorite for candidates in General Election contests, for example.

Help us build our campaign bank account to FundTheFlips with your generous contributions today.

 

Alabama’s new abortion ban, already facing a federal court challenge, has severe consequences for women who are the victims of rape or incest and then forced to give birth – shared child custody with the “father” whom they would prefer to forget.

Alabama joins Minnesota as one of only two states in the nation with no statute terminating parental rights for a person found to have conceived the child by rape or incest, according to the Washington Post.  Obviously, this fact becomes even more relevant because in May, Alabama adopted the nation’s strictest abortion ban, which does not allow exemptions for rape or incest.

“While the Alabama abortion ban has been challenged in court, abortion rights activists fear it could reduce access to the procedure, forcing rape victims to bear children and co-parent with their attackers,” the June 9 Washington post article by Emily Wax-Thibodeaux said.  

“It’s just … unfair and even dangerous to these mothers and their children,” said Alabama Sen. Vivian Figures, who voted against the abortion ban and also plans to introduce a bill which would close the current loophole.

Read more in the Washington Post report here.

Alabama isn’t the only state to remove rape and incest exceptions; in fact, they are now joined by Ohio, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

It appears the Republican party, fueled in part by ideological shifts at the supreme court, is ready to embrace orthodox abortion policy despite the American majority’s objection.

Read more about the ideological shift in the Republican Party.

 
Ke’Aira McDowell delivers a speech during the 2018 Druid Hills High School walkout as part of national activities organized by high school students following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida.

Remarks from March 14, 2018 at Druid Hills High School

By Ke’Aira McDowell

I speak to you this morning as a fellow student, as someone who shares many of the same fears and anxieties that you feel walking into school everyday. While I fully understand why many of you feel there’s no point in voting or being active in the political sphere, I hope today I can convince you otherwise. I want to stress why your individual voice is important, regardless of what anyone tries to tell you.

It’s easy for adults who don’t like what we have to say to dismiss our voices with claims that they “know more” than we do. But they don’t know what it’s like to be afraid of going to school. To hear yet another anonymous threat was made, and to wonder if it’s just another “joke” or if we will be the next victims of gun violence in an American school. How many of you, like me, have plotted out an imaginary escape route or plan of action in the case of an active shooter just while walking alone in the hall?

We keep asking ourselves, “how many times? How many times will another school shooting have to happen before something changes?” It never will if people like us don’t stand our ground and do our part to make it happen. The people in power now will never understand what it’s like. The priority of the powerful is not the safety of our country’s young people, it is not our lives. The primary concern of the powerful is ensuring that they can continue lining their pockets with money soaked in the blood of every victim of gun violence in this country.

They say young people are lazy and entitled.

They say we’re offended too easily.

They say we pay way too much for coffee and way too much for avocados.

The reality is our generation is special. Everyday, I am inspired and amazed by my peers, here at Druid Hills High School and everywhere around this country. We are accepting and loving and bright. We are angry, passionate, determined. And I might add, anger, passion, and determination make a daunting combination for anyone in our path.

We have far more power than we believe we do. Each year, a new wave of bright young people is granted the right to vote. Please exercise your right to vote. The ballot box is where it all happens. Change in the system occurs only when we change who makes the rules. Vote out the people who refuse to prioritize common sense gun laws.

If you aren’t old enough to vote yet, continue to make noise. I know the odds seem increasingly stacked against all of us. But continue to do what you can. Go to marches and protests, write letters, call your representatives. Let them know that we aren’t satisfied and we won’t be until preserving our lives become a priority. Use social media! Use it to spark fires, promote change, have discussions. And most importantly, stay informed. In a world where fake, biased news is rampant, do your research and inform people of the truth.

To the NRA and the legislators who have refused to fix our flawed system, I say you have a tremendous amount of blood on your hands. Your blatant disregard for our lives is appalling. We refuse to live our lives in fear so that you can continue to push your donor’s agenda. I am delighted to inform you that our numbers are on the rise and your time is running out. We will hold you accountable. You have begun to tear down the very foundations of this country in the name of money and power. And, for some reason, you think you can just leave us sitting behind in the rubble.

Not gonna happen. We will repair the country that you are on the path to destroy. Change is coming. We are the ones bringing it.

Students of Druid Hills and students everywhere, you matter. Your opinions matter. We all have a responsibility to do our part to create the change we want to see in this country. No one can do it alone. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Georgia’s WIN List is proud to be training a new generation of activists and candidates through our year long WIN Leadership Academy and a series of training sessions around the state which we will announce soon. Many women we have trained over the years already hold elected office.

Will you join our Double Down campaign to support the campaign fund we are building to push these women into the November 2020 victors circle? Between now and June 20 new or increased contributions will be matched. Make your generous gift today.

 

By Olivia Ewing and Ke’Aira McDowell*

Georgia ranks 20th in the nation for the percentage of women serving in its state legislature, clearly demonstrating the proportional relationship between the margin of victory for recent abortion bans and the number of women in a legislative body and the percentage of those women who are progressive Democratic women.

Of the six states which have passed abortion bans, Georgia had the closest vote. Georgia’s six week abortion ban, HB 481, passed with a narrow margin of 92-78. (91 votes required in the 180 member house.) Earlier, the measure passed with 34-18 approval in the Senate. By comparison, Alabama’s House Bill 314 was passed with an astonishing 74-3 vote margin where only 15.7% of the state’s legislators are women and only two thirds of the women are Democrats. 

Clearly, when more women hold legislative office, their voices influence debate in house and senate chambers in a dramatic fashion. Eloquent speeches by Georgia women Senators and representatives were viral in a matter of hours when the bill was first debated in late March. 

In Georgia, women comprise 30.5 percent of the legislature and Democratic women outnumber their Republican colleagues 3.2 to one.  Specific Georgia figures and all figures in the charts below for the percentage of women in state legislature are from the Rutgers University Center for American Women in Politics.

States Passing Abortion Bans

  HouseSenateRatio (Dem to GOP women)% Women
GeorgiaBanned at 6
weeks
92-7834-183.2 to 130.5%
OhioBanned at 6
weeks
56-4019-131.9 to 126.5%
MissouriBanned at 8
weeks*
110-4424-101.04 to 124.9%
KentuckyBanned at 6
weeks
71-1931-6.9 to 122.5%
LouisianaBanned at 6
weeks*
79-2331-5.91 to 116%
AlabamaTotal ban*74-325-72.14 to 115.7%
LouisianaBanned at 6
weeks*
78-3734-141 to 113.8%

* no exceptions for rape/incest

As a response to the recent attacks on reproductive freedom in the South and Midwest, some progressive states are now introducing bills which repeal existing restrictions on abortion. These states have a higher percentage of women legislators than in the states which have passed abortion bans.

Nevada, the only state where women hold the majority of legislative seats, has approved a new law which repeals restrictions on self-induced abortions and takes away the requirements for doctors to explain the “emotional implications” of an abortion before performing one. In addition, Nevada doctors are no longer required to verify a woman’s age, marital status and consent in writing before performing a procedure.

A bill which grants full reproductive freedom to women by prohibiting any and all government restrictions on the right of an individual to terminate pregnancy has passed through Vermont’s House (106-37) and Senate (24-6). The state has also proposed an amendment which would make “personal reproductive autonomy” a fundamental right, providing greater protection than the proposed bill alone. Vermont is the first state to propose a constitutional amendment guaranteeing a woman’s right to choose.

In Illinois, the Reproductive Health Act has been approved with a 34-20 vote in the Senate after a 64-50 vote in the House. The bill rescinds restrictions on some late-term abortions, officially removes criminal penalties for doctors who perform abortions and requires insurance companies to pay for abortion procedures.

States Easing Abortion Access

 Ratio (Dem to GOP women)% Women
Nevada4.5 to 152.4%
Vermont3.64 to 1 (3 I, 4 PRG)40%
Illinois5.4 to 136.2%

Even as the ACLU and Planned Parenthood Southeast prepare a lawsuit to challenge HB 481 in the federal courts, Georgia’s WIN List is focused on a longer term strategy for protecting reproductive freedom for many years to come. First, we must DEFEAT the Republicans, primarily men, who voted in favor of HB 481. We replace those male Senators and Representatives in 2020 by ELECTing Democratic pro-choice Women In Numbers. Then, with more women in the General Assembly in 2021, the first order of business will be to REPEAL HB 481. 

Moving forward, with a Georgia General Assembly which has an even higher percentage of women members, bills to restrict reproductive freedom in the future would remain in committee and never make it to the floor for a vote. Progressive advocates could work towards passage of other measures which would address other issues of grave importance to women and their families such as equal pay, healthcare and gun safety. 

Your support today builds the campaign fund for the women we hope to endorse in record setting numbers for the 2020 election cycle. Will you Double Down with your generous gift today?