New Jersey’s 11th: NJ 11th for Change
Fight’s contributions to NJ11th for Change: $20K to expand NJ11 voter outreach (canvassing, collateral, events)
“We’re so used to doing things with limited resources on a limited basis. They encouraged us to be aspirational in our asks [for funding]. “What would it be like if you were targeting a lot more people?” It forced us to think outside of our limitations. As a result, we added more coverage. We focused on five towns. We didn’t want to go big for the sake of being big. We wanted to have an impact strategically where the campaign wasn’t focused… They’ve given us advice on canvassing, messaging, PR, parsing the more efficient and targeted things we’re doing. Rather than go with gut, they helped us do the math.”
– Saily Avelenda, Founder, NJ11th for Change
New Jersey’s 11th district has a mix of deep red Trump supporters, socially liberal “Rockefeller Republicans,” and a growing base of Democrats. Despite a long history of voting Republican, the district went for the Democrat in the 2017 governor’s race, reflecting a growing disillusionment with the right. The retirement of Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen ends a political dynasty that dates back to the American revolution, and opened the door for a Democratic victory. Mikie Sherrill, a former Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor, was poised to take advantage of that opening in November.
Outcome: DEMOCRATIC WIN
For over a year, NJ 11th for Change staged weekly protests demanding a town hall with Rep. Frelinghuysen. News coverage suggests that their consistent pressure ultimately lead to his retirement. While focused on the House, the group also recognizes the need to elect Democrats at every level, and successfully supported the election of 11 new Democrats in local races in fall 2017. With a strong executive director and board, 30 town teams activated across the district, and over 8,000 members on Facebook, NJ 11th for Change has the leadership and community support it needs to secure victory in 2018.
NJ 11th for Change had a four-pronged strategy, including staging voter registration events, phone banking consistent Democratic voters to enlist more volunteers, canvassing infrequent voters, and tapping into local and remote volunteers for postcard writing campaigns. With an investment from Fight for a Better America, they conducted deeper data analysis to target “no party preference” voters and Rockefeller Republicans for deeper persuasion-based canvassing in summer and fall leading up to the election, while also used the data to avoid wasting resources in the district’s Tea Party enclaves.
Examples of Right Tactics + Results:
Mailed vote by mail ballots to 22K infrequent voters (w/ Data for Progress); knocked 18K+ doors