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[314 Action] — which raised [$5 million] for the 2018 elections — trained about 1,500 prospective candidates and supported the eight winning Democrats, as well as Senator Jacky Rosen and more than 30 successful state-level candidates…In several of the districts that flipped, science was at the very center of the campaign.
One of those congressional candidates was Joe Cunningham, a Democrat running in a red district in South Carolina. Here’s how 314 Action helped elect this scientist to Congress two years ago:
Going into election day 2018, FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver gave ocean engineer Joe Cunningham just a 9% chance of winning, but Joe pulled off a stunning victory Winning with 50.7% of the vote, the New York Times called Cunningham’s win “one of the biggest upsets of the midterms.”
Previously a safe Republican seat, the race was put into play when Trump endorsed little known state Rep. Katie Arrington, who built her campaign around his policies, specifically offshore drilling. Our candidate, Joe Cunningham was able to leverage his experience as an ocean engineer to speak credibly on this issue.
We endorsed Joe and worked closely with him and his campaign team. With 4 weeks to go our polling showed Joe within striking distance, but he needed backup and no outside groups were getting involved. We saw an opportunity where our support could move the needle in an overlooked race in a relatively inexpensive media market.
Our PAC spent $523,000 to blanket the airwaves in the Charleston and Savannah media markets with comparative ads highlighting Joe’s opposition to offshore drilling contrasted with his opponent’s own words supporting offshore drilling. In a last-ditch effort to save Arrington, the NRCC spent $228,000 in the last week of the campaign, but it was not enough. Joe won with a relentless focus on local issues using his scientific background in a way that credentialed him to voters. With our help, he was able to overcome the challenging fundamentals of an R+10 district.
In races like SC-01 the stakes could not have been higher. If 314 Action hadn’t been able to pull together the resources to support Joe Cunningham, he would not be in Congress today.
In 2020, we’re maximizing our national and local impact. With so much at stake for our country, it’s imperative we elect scientists and STEM professionals up and down the ballot in November.
An example of our commitment is in the pivotal and highly competitive state of Arizona. 314 Action has raised more than $1.3 million for former astronaut Mark Kelly who is running against close Trump ally Martha McSally for the U.S. Senate. In this must-win seat for Democrats to take back control of the Senate, the grassroots supporters of 314 Action are already making a difference.
As a geologist, I’m proud to have the support of 314 Action Fund. Thanks to their support, my campaign for Senate got off to the strongest start possible. 314 Action Fund identified 60,000 grassroots backers for my campaign and raised over $110,000 for me in just the first 48 hours of the race.— Governor John Hickenlooper
We’re changing politics as usual across the country by electing scientists and STEM professionals up-and-down the ballot. In 2020, with the help of our network of grassroots supporters, we’re multiplying our impact.
October 2019 GSG Survey of 1321 voters in battleground states