One of Sonoma County’s most targeted out-of-area campaigning efforts is focused on state legislative races where activists see equally if not more important opportunities to make Democratic gains.
The west Sonoma County chapter of the Sister District Project, a national organization that seeks to turn state governments blue, has been supporting three candidates running for office in Arizona: Sean Bowie, Felicia French and Bobby Tyler.
“We don’t do those long-shot races,” said volunteer Karen Walker of Forestville. “We do the ones we think we can really win. We’re gonna pick off these senate and state house races and actually take them over.”
Local Sister District Project activists have raised about $21,000 to support the three candidates, according to Walker. The chapter has held five fundraisers, including a tea party, a yard sale and a clothing swap, she said.
Sister District Project volunteers have also been making phone calls, sending text messages and writing postcards to voters in the three Arizona districts they are supporting. The group has about 200 members, according to Walker.
Like many other liberal Sonoma County activists, Walker’s involvement stemmed from her distress over Donald Trump’s election in 2016. She and a friend attended a meeting about the nascent Sister District Project in early 2017 and decided to help start up a west county chapter afterward.
“We were very upset about the fact that the Republicans had put in a guy like Trump, and I personally was against almost all of his policies and his behavior — everything about him,” Walker said. “I wanted to do something, because I felt so helpless.”
Walker said progressives have been hurt badly by gerrymandering, so boosting Democrats’ chances in state legislative races can help ensure they “get an even, fair distribution of votes.”
She’s also noticed how much of an impact out-of-state fundraising can have.
“State house and senate races spend very little money compared to a congressional race, so our money really makes a much bigger impact,” Walker said. “The states really matter.”
You can reach Staff Writer J.D. Morris at 707-521-5337 or email@example.com. On Twitter @thejdmorris.