Art Small is an economist and data scientist who grew up in Iowa and is currently based in Charlottesville, Virginia. He is volunteering through Tech for Campaigns on a state legislative race in Virginia. -promoted by Laura Belin
Knowledgeable observers increasingly see the Iowa House as a likely battleground in the 2020 election cycle. In yet another sign that control of the chamber will be in play next year, Tech for Campaigns, a national group that funnels volunteers with digital skills to support Democratic candidates, today announced that the effort to flip the Iowa House has made it on the group’s “priority list” for the 2020 election cycle.
Following gains last November and Andy McKean’s party switch in April, Democrats need a net pick-up of just four seats to flip the chamber blue.
Based in San Francisco, Tech for Campaigns matches volunteers from the technology industry–digital marketers, data scientists, website designers, and the like–to Democratic campaigns, primarily in state legislative races. Since launching after the 2016 elections, the group has embedded volunteers in nearly two hundred campaigns nationwide. There they help to build web sites, enhance advertising through social media, and raise funds and awareness through targeted emails – all areas where state-level candidacies typically lack capacity. The group’s efforts have earned notice: the New York Times has dubbed the group “a kind of Democratic Geek Squad.”
Tech for Campaigns focuses on state-level races because of the evident need, the importance of state policy in people’s lives, and–looming over all–the key role that states play in the redistricting process that will follow the 2020 census.
Today’s announcement follows the unveiling in July of the Better Democracy PAC, an effort to help flip the Iowa House being led by all four of the most recent Democratic governors and gubernatorial nominees. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee is already spotlighting four 2020 Iowa House races as well.
In a recent interview with Iowa Starting Line, former gubernatorial nominee Fred Hubbell described the stakes in stark terms. “It’s now or never, really, to stop this Republican trifecta” by re-taking the Iowa House. “If they win in 2020, they’re going to gerrymander it, and Democrats and many Iowans will be in the wilderness for decades.”
Editor’s note from Laura Belin: Bleeding Heartland reviewed the 2020 Iowa House landscape here and will closely follow campaign developments in battleground districts. Although Iowa has nonpartisan redistricting, many Democrats share Hubbell’s concern that a Republican-controlled legislature would change state law or amend the third nonpartisan map to a gerrymander in 2021.