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About

The Blue Texas Advisory Board

Veronica Escobar

U.S. Representative, (TX-16)

Louis Bedford, IV

Civil Rights and Voting Rights Attorney

Jessica Gonzalez

State Representative, District 110

Luke Warford

2022 Democratic Nominee, Texas Railroad Commission

Jeremy Smith

Co-Founder and CEO, Civitech

Gene Wu

State Representative, District 137

The Blue Texas Founders

Blue Texas is a joint project between Power the Vote, former Ohio Democratic party chair David Pepper and Every State Blue.

David’s highly-acclaimed book Laboratories of Autocracy: A Wake-Up Call From Behind the Lines details the risk anti-democratic statehouses (like Texas’s) pose to our democracy. If you’ve not read it, you should; Hillary Rodham Clinton recommends it, and so do we. You can get it HERE.

​Every State Blue (formerly It Starts Today) was founded after the 2016 election by Jonathan Zucker, former COO and CEO of ActBlue. Convinced that the power of the Democrats’ grassroots community coupled with small-dollar recurring donations could change fundraising forever, he got to work creating groundbreaking national and state-based programs.

Power the Vote is the only organization funding permanent, year-round voter protection staff at the Texas Democratic Party. Power the Vote’s founders ran voter protection at the Democratic Party of Georgia during the 2020 election cycle, and the votes they secured more than made the margins of victory. Since that time, Power the Vote has become a leader in advancing voter protection and democracy defense at the Democratic Party. Power the Vote funds year-round voter protection staff at state parties in five states: AZ, FL, GA, NC, and TX.

Together, we’re going to change Texas.

David Pepper

David Pepper

David is a lawyer, accomplished author, political activist, and former elected official. He also teaches election law and voting rights.

He served as the Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party between 2015 and 2021. During law school he was named “most likely to be president … of the Cincinnati Board of Tourism.”

​His highly-acclaimed book Laboratories of Autocracy details the risk anti-democratic statehouses pose to our democracy.

Kimberley Allen

Kimberley Allen

Kim is a Texas native and the co-founder of Power the Vote, an organization that funds voter protection teams in Texas and other battleground states. Prior to launching Power the Vote Kim was a Special Counsel in the Commercial Litigation group at Covington & Burling LLP.

During the 2020 election cycle, Kim was Deputy Director of Voter Protection at the Democratic Party of Georgia.  The work of the Georgia voter protection team was critical to flipping Georgia blue.

Jonathan Zucker

Jonathan Zucker

Jonathan Zucker is a political technology entrepreneur and campaign finance attorney. He was the first COO and second CEO of ActBlue.

He has also served at the DNC as National Director of Operations for Finance.

More recently, he has founded or advised several political tech start-ups, including Democracy Engine, It Starts Today, ruck.us, Rep’d and Crowdpac.

Michele Hornish

Michele Hornish

Michele is a lawyer, highly sought-after communications consultant, and the Executive Director of Every State Blue.

She founded Small Deeds Done, a political action site featured in the New York Times bestseller Good And Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger.

Since 2017 she has focused on Every State Blue’s state-based projects, culminating in the development of Blue Ohio.

The Blue Texas Plan

We know Texas Republicans are using a two-part strategy: suppress Democratic votes, and gerrymander the rest. If they can make Democrats think their vote won’t count or doesn’t matter, they figure they can keep us home on Election Day.

To fight back, Democrats need a two-part strategy of our own: a way to protect the vote – and to give people someone to vote for, even in the most gerrymandered of districts.

That made us think: what if we created a grassroots community that did exactly that?

That’s why Blue Texas – a collaboration between Power the Vote and Every State Blue – is so exciting!

Power The Vote

Power the Vote’s founders ran voter protection at the Democratic Party of Georgia in 2020, where they secured 15,870 votes – more than Biden’s margin of victory (12,670). They’ve brought that knowledge and experience to Texas.

Typically, voter protection programs are built up and broken down each cycle. That’s inefficient. Besides, Republicans don’t take a break from suppressing the vote… so we shouldn’t take a break from protecting the vote.

That’s why Power the Vote funds permanent, year-round voter protection staff at the Texas Democratic Party. And it’s the only organization that does.

Every State Blue

The impact downballot races have on up-ballot vote share has been shown in study after study.

But too often, state legislative races go uncontested or underfunded – especially in the most gerrymandered districts that are considered a “lost cause.”

We have to do better – and stop leaving people behind.

Every State Blue’s inspiring grassroots communities fix this problem by making sure state legislative nominees have resources to fight for every voter, in every district, in every election. By supporting first those nominees who have raised the least, they make sure no district – and no voter – is left behind.

The Blue Texas Community: What You Get

• Membership in the only grassroots community that’s focused on making sure every Democratic nominee for Texas state legislature has resources to run a campaign – and that Texas has a year-round voter protection program.

At the $10/month level (or more), automatic participation in our monthly Team Blue Texas calls with author and former Ohio Democratic Party Chair, David Pepper.

• Knowledge – backed up with data – that you’re boosting the vote share for the top of the ticket and local turnout, while helping reach the millions of Texans who were left behind in 2022. 

• Pride that no matter what else you have going on, you’re doing something that’s meaningful and impactful.

• Peace of mind that you’re fighting for a better future for yourself and your loved ones.

• Satisfaction that just by being part of our community you’re telling the Texas GOP that you’re on to them. You’re not letting their corruption and lawlessness slide, and you won’t let them sell out your democracy without a fight.

• Gratification that you play a role in holding people in
the statehouse accountable.

The Impact of Fighting+Funding Everywhere

Running Nominees Everywhere Matters

Just having a nominee for state house on the ballot increases the vote share for the top of the ticket by 1.5%.

 

But in 2022, 41 Texas House Districts had no Democratic nominee on the ballot.

 

Over 8.2 million Texans live in those 41 districts.

Texas House Districts with no Democratic nominee

Texans in House Districts with no nominee

Funding Nominees Everywhere Matters

There’s more: Funding nominees boosts turnout, too. In fact, funding a challenger at $0.36 per eligible voter increases turnout by 1%.

 

But in 2022, another 34 Texas state house Districts were underfunded – averaging just $15,786 to reach 200,000 people.

 

Those 34 Texas state house Districts include another 6.8 million Texans, who probably didn’t hear from their cash-strapped Democratic nominee.

Underfunded Texas House Districts

Texans in House Districts with an underfunded nominee

Running Funded Nominees Everywhere = Massive, Data-Backed Impact

That’s over 15 million Texans left behind – either because there wasn’t a Democrat to vote for, or that nominee didn’t have what they needed to run a real campaign.

Texans Left Behind

Here’s the good news:

Reaching those 15 million forgotten Texans is as simple as running and supporting Democratic nominees for Texas state legislature …

But Texas is ranked the toughest place to vote in the country. So our Blue Texas community supports voter protection, too – to make sure that every vote counts.

By joining, you’re making sure we fight+fund everywhere. 

Fighting voter suppression everywhere matters:

When the Texas GOP passed S.B.1, they added new vote by mail requirements. Because of those new rules, over 25,000 people’s votes – 13% of vote-by-mail voters – were rejected. But voter protection staff supported by Power The Vote stepped in and brought that rejection rate down from 13% to 3% statewide.

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Ballot rejection rate before

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Ballot rejection rate after

Power the Vote’s founders ran the Georgia Democratic Party’s voter protection efforts in 2020. The votes their team saved were more than Joe Biden’s margin.

Fighting+Funding everywhere can change election outcomes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does supporting down-ballot Texas Democrats boost results statewide?

In 2020, we ran a study and found that having a Democratic nominee for state legislature on the ballot increased the vote share for the top of the ticket by 1.5%. We know from a peer-reviewed study of 20 states that funding a challenger at $0.36 per eligible voter adds a whopping 1% boost to voter turnout!

So there’s a potential 2.5% bump for the top of the ticket if we run and support a Democratic nominee. Statewide, that leads to massive gains up and down the ticket! Bottom line: we can elect more Texas Democrats. We just need to work together. Ready to get started? We’re glad to have you on board. Click here to join>>

How does supporting voter protection work help Democrats win?

Republicans know their grip on power is slipping, as the Texas electorate becomes younger and more diverse. That’s why they’re doing everything they can to suppress the vote and silence voters’ voices.

When voter suppression is the problem, voter protection is the solution. That’s why Blue Texas does more than support down-ballot Democratic nominees. As a joint partnership between Every State Blue and Power the Vote, Blue Texas supports nominees and voter protection work in Texas.

The team behind Power the Vote led the voter protection program at the Democratic Party of Georgia during the 2020 cycle, when the state flipped blue for the first time in nearly 30 years. They saw first hand in Georgia that voter protection work can make the margin of victory. 

They founded Power the Vote to take that winning strategy to other battleground states, including Texas! Their mission is to fund year-round voter protection staff at the Texas Democratic Party – and those staff, in turn, fight to ensure that every voter can vote, that every vote is counted, and that every election win is certified.

Ready to join the team? JOIN>>

Which nominees does Blue Texas fund and how?
Blue Texas uses a “bathtub” method of funding, where the community funds are used to lift the nominees from the bottom up. After the primary, we’ll look to the Democratic primary winners’ most recent campaign finance filings, and distribute community funds until the nominees all have at least $1,000. Then we’ll raise the “water level” to $2,000 … then $3,000 and so on and so on until the Blue Texas community funds are exhausted. Only nominees (the Democratic primary winners) are eligible for funding. We do not fund candidates in the primary or make endorsements – this is a project to make sure Democrats have support to fight fiercely in the general election.
What are some of the "soft benefits" of running a supported Democratic nominee in every district?

Just by supporting the Democratic nominees that are running for state legislature, Texas Democrats can build a bigger bench, build up local Democratic infrastructure, make Republicans fight (and spend) everywhere, and spread a progressive message through a local lens.

If we’re serious about reaching voters across all 150 Texas Districts (and we are), then supporting the Democrats already doing the hard work is the most efficient and effective way to do it.

How much do most people contribute?

The average is just over $14/month. As an added bonus, everyone who contributes at $10/month is eligible to join our monthly team call, featuring David Pepper! They’re always informative and often entertaining – and a great time to ask any questions you have about Texas politics.

What do I get for contributing?

Most importantly, you know that you’re part of the solution, and you’re doing something really powerful every single month. And – if you’re contributing at $10/month or above, you’re also added to our monthly Blue Texas Team call, where we get together on Zoom with our Blue Texas family to talk about recent events, progress, and all things Texas. It’s a great time to ask David Pepper, former Ohio Democratic Party Chair, any questions about politics! All donors are added to our Blue Texas Update email.

Where does my donation go?

50% of your donation to Blue Texas supports the voter protection work of Power the Vote, which is used to fund voter protection staff.

50% of your donation goes to the nominees. Blue Texas does not take a percentage. We rely upon tips revenue to grow this movement, and those tips are greatly appreciated! (Hint: Please leave one if you can!)

We’re also completely transparent about credit card processing fees. You may not realize it, but entities like ActBlue deduct credit card processing fees from your donation before sending it to candidates. So the candidate you’re supporting is getting less than you intended! Not with us – 100% of your donation goes exactly where you intended it to go. So if you want your donation to be $10/month, it is $10/month; the $0.57 in processing fees is added to your donation total for a monthly charge of $10.57. If you want your monthly charge to be a flat $10, no problem – just enter $9.44 into the donation field, and together with the processing fees that will all come out to $10/mo.

We also use a processor, Democracy Engine, LLC, that charges a lower percentage in processing fees. While ActBlue collects 3.95% and Kickstarter keeps 5% on top of processing fees, Democracy Engine collects a 3.75% + $0.20 processing fee.

Are you part of the Texas Democratic Party?

No. While we support the efforts of the collection of national, state, and local organizations that make up the Democratic Party, we’re working alongside the Party to build critical infrastructure that protects the vote and elects Democrats up and down the ballot. Our goal is to break radical Republican control, support and elect more Democrats, and preserve democracy. As part of that mission, Power the Vote supports voter protection staff at the Texas Democratic Party, who fight for voters and defend democracy.

Are you doing this kind of project in any other states?

Yes! We have active projects in Ohio and Missouri and are hard at working bringing this project to other states that could use the same short-term electoral benefit and long-term investment. (The states on our short list of expansion projects include AZ, GA, MI, NC, PA, and WI. If you are interested in discussing any of those states, we’d love to hear from you. Just send an email to info@itstarts.today.)

How does guaranteed funding help us run more nominees?

Fundraising is one of the toughest, and most detested, parts of running for office. It’s even worse for nominees who are in challenging, conservative districts. Eliminating the fundraising barrier means more people are willing to run, which makes recruitment much easier.

How can I help?

Glad you asked! First, you should join! (Do that HERE.) Second, we need people like you from all over the state (and country) to help spread the word. If everyone who asked this question could get five friends to join, we’d be well on our way to amassing the power that Texas Democrats need.

Also: if you would like us to speak to your local group or organization, just reach out to us at info@bluetexas.org.

When will my subscription end?

Democracy is a long game, and we’re in this for the long haul. So unlike most Democratic organizations, we’re not focused on any one cycle. Your subscription will continue until you tell us to stop. Just contact us at info@bluetexas.org at any time. We’re very approachable!

How do I stop or change my recurring donation?

Easy! Just contact us at info@bluetexas.org at any time. We’re very approachable! (A tech build to create a software application that would allow user-modifiable donations runs in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and right now our focus is on fundraising for the nominees rather than fundraising for technology. It was a priority call of ours, and we think it’s the right one. Still, that sort of platform is on our radar and wish list for future cycles.)

How do I contact you?

You can contact us at info@bluetexas.org at any time. We’d love to hear from you.