Like any organization, we will balance our scoreboard between short term and long-term indicators. But in the midst of Tennessee’s current political climate, it’s necessary to put full frontal force into the 2020 electoral cycle.
Here are our three baseline goals for the 2020 cycle:
1. Target 250 and win 200 local GOP seats (partisan county, city, and other municipal seats) across all 95 counties during the 2019-2020 cycle. 175 victories will be outside of Davidson and Shelby Counties.
2. Target 15 and win 9 GOP State House seats. All targets and victories will be outside of Davidson and Shelby Counties.
3. Target 10 and win 6 GOP State Senate seats. 90% of the targets and victories will be outside of Davidson and Shelby Counties.
Utilizing local relationships and assets both in the party and throughout the wider community, we will identify, vet, recruit, train, endorse, and help fund 275 candidates throughout all 95 counties.
Our endorsed candidates will meet the following non-negotiable criteria:
—A strong commitment to Democratic Party values.
—Strong and historic ties to their local electorate.
—Willingness to submit to a criminal background and professional background check.
—A written commitment to undertake the work needed to win an election.
—Participation in specialized and local Democratic Candidate Training Schools.
—World-class and relevant training.
—Access to paid canvassers beginning 120 days before Election Day.
—Access to funds comensurate to needs, winnability, and sweat equity.
Each endorsed candidate will receive the following from Our Tennessee:
We will retain these goals no matter who the Democratic nominee is for President of the United States.
Our Tennessee's modus operandi is that good candidates who win elections are the best building block for local parties. While these candidates can come from the auspices of the local party structures, they oftentimes do not. That being said, Our Tennessee knows that strong party infrastructure is necessary for the continued growth of the party and the success of our candidates. So we will write a significant check to every party in the county to support direct voter outreach efforts.
One of the great challenges and necessities of Tennessee Democrats is to distinguish our brand from the national party. It’s Our Tennessee's belief that generic Democratic national talking points aren’t going to win elections in suburban and rural Tennessee. Nearly forty percent of our state’s electorate are white evangelicals, but we seem to lack the foresight to tailor our message towards them. Nearly thirty percent of our Democrats are people of color, yet we don’t often communicate in a particular way that resonates with their community.
To facilitate these efforts, we will undertake two coinciding efforts. First, we will train, ghostwrite, and pitch op-eds, interviews, and other media opportunities for each of our 225 candidates in their individual community newspapers, radio, and television stations. Second, we will organize and produce a digital media outlet to lift up and spread the word about our candidates and our causes.