Memo: DNC Invests Big in Pennsylvania

TO: Interested Parties

FROM: Elizabeth Renda, DNC Northeast Press Secretary

DATE:   August 7, 2018

RE: DNC Invests Big in Pennsylvania



With less than 100 days left until this year’s midterm elections on November 6, the DNC is proud to announce that we have invested more than half a million dollars in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support efforts to elect Democrats up and down the ticket, across the Keystone State.


Penn Live: With Pa. in play, national Dems spend nearly $600k on ground game


Our financial investments, which total more than $595,000, are funding work that includes traditional boots-on-the-ground organizing in communities across Pennsylvania, with a special emphasis on engaging and investing in African American, Puerto Rican and Latino, and rural communities; supporting the infrastructure of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party; and lifting Democratic candidates to victory from the school board to the Governor’s Residence.


In addition to these financial investments, the DNC has acquired an additional 3 million cell phone numbers in Pennsylvania to better engage with voters; will host multiple Organize to Win trainings in the state for local organizers, volunteers, and activists; provides the Pennsylvania Democratic Party (PDP) with critical support in areas ranging from cybersecurity guidance to voter protection and education; and will continue to send our party’s leaders into the state, starting with DNC Chair Tom Perez’s visit to Pennsylvania on August 8 and 9.


All of this work showcases the critical importance the DNC places on the state of Pennsylvania in our efforts to take back the House in 2018 and our commitment to investing in the Keystone State for years to come. Through our significant investments in the state, the DNC is moving full speed ahead to help organize voters across the state to elect Democrats up and down the ticket, across Pennsylvania this November.




In January, the DNC gave the Pennsylvania Democratic Party a $100,000 grant through the State Party Innovation Fund (SPIF). The PDP received their SPIF grant in the very first wave of 11 total grants, which totaled nearly $1 million. This grant has supported a field organizing program that allowed the PDP to hire regional field directors for five target regions, as well as to open five regional field offices.


SPIF is a first-of-its-kind, competitive grant program that incentivizes early organizing through state parties and supports efforts to engage African-American, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, millennial, and rural communities.




In early July, the DNC announced a multimillion dollar investment in base community organizing ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Combining traditional boots-on-the-ground organizing with innovative digital and technological tools, these investments will support the DNC’s IWillVote initiative that aims to reach 50 million voters by Election Day.


Through this program, the DNC invested an additional $175,000 in the PDP to help fund organizing efforts in African American and LatinX communities across the state, with a unique emphasis on engaging the Puerto Rican community.


The DNC welcomes the Puerto Rican community, and we’re reaching out to identify, engage, and support them. While Republicans continue to fail the Puerto Rican community, the DNC will not take them for granted. We’ve made it a priority to engage with Puerto Ricans who have recently relocated to Pennsylvania and elsewhere following Hurricane Maria. Specifically, the DNC has:

  • Through our total base engagement investment of $175,000 in the PDP, the DNC allocated $100,000 specifically to put Puerto Rican organizers on the ground to help connect them to social services in the community and register them to vote;

  • Purchased the cell phone numbers of every Puerto Rican who relocated from the island to Pennsylvania after 30 days to better engage the community; and

  • Partnered with the MirRam Group to identify issues of importance and messages that connect with the Puerto Rican community.

In Pennsylvania, we are also working to expand engagement efforts to provide new arrivals with the support they need as they settle into their new communities.




In addition to the above investments, through the DNC’s Every ZIP Code Counts program, the PDP and state parties across the country have consistently been receiving $10,000 a month since October 2017.


This represents a 33% increase over the base funding levels from 2016 and a 100% increase over 2015.



The DNC acquired the cell phone number of every registered voter across the country for whom a cell phone was commercially available. In Pennsylvania alone, this allowed us to acquire more than 3 million new cell phone numbers, including 25,000 in the Puerto Rican community. To date, we have enhanced our voter file with the purchase of 94 million additional cell phone numbers nationwide.

This is a big investment unlike anything the party has done before, and will aid our efforts not only for 2018, but for 2019, 2020, and beyond. As the majority of the electorate continues to shift from landlines to cell phones, the DNC is making sure that Democrats and all our state parties are in the best position to contact voters and share our message.

We know our methodology works because we tested our theory in Alabama for the U.S. Senate special election on behalf of Doug Jones. The DNC contacted almost every registered African American voter in the state to share their polling place and encourage them to vote, which ultimately boosted turnout and helped lift Doug Jones to victory. Between now and Election Day, the DNC plans to use this list for voter contact in key races across the country and to encourage sporadic voters to turn out in November as a part of our IWillVote initiative.




Organize to Win Trainings are free day-long trainings that offer insight into electoral organizing, best practices for campaign tools and tactics and deep dives into specific organizing skills. In August, the DNC will host an Organize to Win training focused on base engagement and community organizing in Pennsylvania, and in September, we’ll host a statewide training for regional activists in the state.




In 2017, the DNC started harnessing its email list to raise directly for candidates – funds that you won’t see on our own FEC report. In partnership with the Conor Lamb campaign, the DNC launched a grassroots email fundraising campaign, which raised $220,000 from 14,000 people. This money went directly to the campaign to help reach voters in the final days of the election.

This is an intentional shift in how we think about empowering grassroots donors and maximizing our impact for Democratic campaigns. Not only does split fundraising place funds directly into the coffers of our campaigns, it shares the email addresses of contributors, allowing campaigns to resolicit a new universe of financial support. It also gives grassroots donors transparency – they know their gift is going directly to the candidates they support.


The DNC also activated online grassroots volunteers to make calls for the Lamb campaign, set up a virtual phone-bank for out-of-district volunteers to mobilize voters, and had our DNC staff and volunteers make calls into the district and host phone banks in the last few weeks of GOTV. Additionally, the DNC’s Civic Engagement Voter Protection team set up and operated a voter hotline number, which allowed voters in Pennsylvania to call and report voting issues on Election Day.




Through our partnership with DigiDems, the DNC was able to help ensure a digital organizer was placed on the ground in Pennsylvania, starting on July 23. The full-time digital organizer is focused on helping the Pennsylvania Democratic Party elect Democrats up and down the ticket in the state through optimized tech tools backed by leading tech innovators in the industry.




The Russian military attacked our democracy in 2016 and we know they'll be back. That’s why the DNC is providing guidance and technical assistance to states to prevent future hacks.


The DNC has recruited Chief Technology Officer Raffi Krikorian, who comes to us from Twitter and Uber, and Chief Security Officer Bob Lord, who worked at Yahoo through their remediation following their hack. In addition to working to safeguard DNC systems, this team is providing state parties with technical assistance and advice on the best safety precautions to take as we approach the midterm elections. DNC staff works with state parties and candidates if they see suspicious behavior or potential attacks.


To be as secure as possible, the DNC has instilled a complete culture change in regards to protecting our data. Some of the steps the DNC has taken is moving towards encrypted messaging when appropriate, conducting regular phishing exercises, providing mandatory online and in-person security training, mandating immediate and timely software updates on all work devices and moving to a more secure email system.



Republicans are working to suppress the vote. Democrats are working to make sure everyone votes.

Large-scale voter purges are one the latest ways Republicans are attempting to suppress large numbers of voters – particularly voters of color. At the DNC, we’re fighting back and working to make sure that voters understand the importance of their vote, and their rights to vote.

  • Voter Protection Councils: The DNC is working with states to establish Voter Protection Councils in support of year-round voter protection infrastructure. These Councils will organize to expand voting rights and opportunities in their states.

  • National Voter Hotline: The DNC launched a permanent voter hotline that is open and answered year round. Calls are answered during regular business hours throughout the year, and extended hours for elections and voting ahead of Election Day at the request of state parties and campaigns. This year, the DNC has already supported elections in 18 states and over 30 races.

  • Monitoring Voter Purges: The DNC is tracking the number of voters newly registered and newly removed from voter rolls each time we receive a new voter file from state elections officials. The voter protection team then analyzes the rolls to compare the data against historical trends. This allows us to better work with state parties to identify evidence of large-scale voter purges, to address the issue with state election administrators, and to reach out to affected voters.

  • Voter Protection Toolkits: The DNC has created toolkits for marginalized communities, including the African American, Latinx (in English and Spanish), LGBTQ and Native American communities, which outline the historical background of voting rights, common issues the community faces, and problems voters face and solutions to remedy them.