And it's not just about state-level politics, even though those are critical. It's all about the U.S. House, because the battle for the 2020 redistricting begins this year.
Every one of these candidates we can get elected will be an incumbent running for reelection in 2018, with all the advantages that entails. And the damage we can undo by winning these races and having a seat at the redistricting table is huge. How huge? If the states of Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin apportioned their congressional districts in a 50-50 fashion, that would net Democrats 19-20 seats, enough to retake the majority. And we don't need to control the complete redistricting machine. A seat at the table could mean either a compromise map, or a judge getting to write the lines. And either way, Democrats win.
So with that background out of the way, what better place to start than Ohio?
President Barack Obama won the state by three points, yet Republicans hold 12 of the state's 16 congressional districts, an astonishing 75 percent of them—a mockery of democracy. Republicans were able to enact this aggressive (to put it mildly) gerrymander after the 2010 GOP rout. Winning back this governorship is the first step in clawing that back.
Today we endorse Ed FitzGerald for governor. He's good on our issues, down the line. Incumbent Republican Gov. John Kasich is not. Down the line. On abortion, on worker's rights, on marriage equality, on voter suppression, these candidates are literally polar opposites.
The polling is all over the place. Quinnipiac says Kasich is up 15, PPP says Kasich is up four, Rasmussen says Kasich is up seven. So either this race is a tough slog, or it's very tight. Either way, we fight. The stakes are too high, from state-level policy impacting millions, to setting the table for 2020 redistricting, to holding the state's biggest bully pulpit during the 2016 presidential elections, to bolstering the entire ticket, including the all-important secretary of state race down the ballot (because that's who runs elections in Ohio).
Give $3, no matter where you live, because if you want to stop swimming upstream in the House and against voter suppression efforts, this is where we start.