Post Election Report

VIRGINIA 2021 - Post Election Report

Our Program at a Glance

doors knocked

voters canvassed

5.76 million
paid digital impressions

Victory for 5 out of 8
CASA in Action-endorsed legislative candidates

doors knocked

voters canvassed

5.76 million
paid digital impressions

Victory for 5 out of 8
CASA in Action-endorsed legislative candidates

Executive Summary

While no individual victory is ever certain, what is certain is the power of a united and organized working class will win in the end.

While we are deeply dissatisfied with the losses in this election, we are proud that our efforts on behalf of our endorsed candidates down-ballot helped to mitigate the damage. We know this is only a temporary setback in our journey to winning justice. This year’s election has shown that CASA in Action’s strategy to win, which leverages deep relationships within the immigrant and working class communities of Virginia, can grow Democratic voting blocs and mobilize voters at scale even in the face of electoral headwinds. These relationships take their strength from our work within these communities every day of the year.

This work would not be possible without the generosity of our donors, who, recognizing the danger posed to vulnerable communities by Governor-elect Youngkin’s policies, gave copiously and early. We are grateful for their commitment to justice in present and future struggles.

Our work has resulted in significant gains at the state level for CASA in Action's members and their communities: drivers' cards for undocumented people, a minimum wage increase, resources for non-English language instruction in schools, and more. These victories must now must be defended from the incoming Youngkin administration, for the sake of our 120,000+ immigrant and working class members. Our efforts will be equally successful in opposing the agenda of the new conservative administration in the Commonwealth and retaking power for pro-immigrant legislators in future elections.

Our 2022 fight back to power and justice in Virginia and beyond begins today.

Our Strategy to Win

CASA in Action invested heavily in field and communications programs in districts across Prince William County and Virginia Beach. Applying our passionate and experienced grassroots canvassing teams and world class communications team, CASA in Action dedicated ourselves to mobilizing every possible voter in our progressive coalition. Our field team put in an astounding 894 shifts over our 2.5 month program, hitting nearly 70,000 doors while our powerful messaging reached 5.76 million digital impressions. Though statewide results were disappointing, we’re proud that our work had definite and tangible impact.

Democratic vote share in CASA in Action’s core turf in Prince William County has shown, even amidst this year’s statewide GOP victory, a net percentage increase in Democratic votes since 2017 compared to the whole state, which our organizing has made possible. That said, obviously there is major room for improvement in other regions of the state. Because of funding incapacities, the Virginia Beach area was under-canvassed (as compared to the full ambition of our program), and as a result did not send CASA in Action-endorsed candidates to the House of Delegates. This is a region ripe for political transformation and we believe greater attention to this region will bring great returns moving forward.

Our Endorsed Candidates

This year, CASA in Action endorsed Terry McAuliffe for Governor, Hala Ayala for Lt. Governor, Mark Herring for Attorney General, and the full slate of Democratic candidates for the General Assembly, working to get them elected in the key areas of Prince William and Fairfax Counties as well as the Virginia Beach area. While we were disappointed to suffer from narrow defeats at the top of the ticket, it also must be acknowledged and celebrated that a robust five out of the six candidates for the House of Delegates which CASA in Action endorsed for the NOVA region were elected, proving that where CASA in Action is funded and organized, we get out the vote.

CASA in Action’s endorsements are an integral part of the formation of the Democratic field every cycle. Our endorsements are only given via a rigorous democratic process in which candidates must prove directly to our members that they have true commitments to the fight on behalf of the immigrant and working class communities.

Field Canvass Program

By County Knocks Voters Canvassed (%)
Statewide 65,843 14,691 (22.31%)
Prince William 49,786 11,538 (23.18%)
Virginia Beach 16,057 3,153 (19.64%)
By District/Race Knocks Voters Canvassed (%)
HD 2 12,328 2,761 (22.4%)
HD 31 17,585 4,114 (23.39%)
HD 50 5,233 1,243 (23.75%)
HD 51 14,640 3,420 (23.36%)
HD 83 9,574 1,712 (23.18%)
HD 85 6,483 1,441 (19.64%)

Empowering Black and Brown Voters

In 2021, CASA in Action set out to mobilize the same multiracial, multigenerational coalition that has worked to bring victory after victory to Virginia over the past five years into the fight for the governor’s office, protecting our gains in the Commonwealth, and deepening progressive control of the government. These goals were even more imperative because of a cavalcade of traumatic events--the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rising climate crisis, and the specter of Trumpism--which our communities have bravely borne. This focus on community empowerment is reflected in the breakdown of who we canvassed:

Voters Canvassed by Race

Demographic Group Voter Households Targeted (all modes) Total Contacts (all modes) Contact Rate
Latinx 8465 1337 15.79%
Black 14702 1854 12.61%
API 3644 400 10.98%
White 2359 393 16.66%
Total 31625 4391 13.88%

Communications Program

Capitalizing on a significant investment in enhancing our digital capacity over the last 18 months, CASA in Action now boasts the largest, most experienced, most talented team in our history. That team, in concert with our state partners, developed powerful and effective messaging that reached the largest digital audience in any individual state campaign in CASAiA history. This election, we focused on fully integrating messaging and media with our door program to execute a truly holistic approach to voter engagement. Working in an unlimited coordination state also allowed us to round out this work with memorable and effective campaign events alongside our candidates, as well as earned media hits to raise our visibility and reach more voters with our messaging.

Organic social featured a high number of canvasser-created content: canvassers sent in photos and videos of their experience on doors and talking to voters. Paid social ads on the other hand featured 504 ads: high-quality videos for candidates at the top of the ticket, static ads for local candidates, and ballot information for the low-propensity voter targets. Ultimately, these ad sets tracked how voters move down through the CASA in Action take action funnel within the field universes.

Paid Ad Impressions Paid Ad Reach (FB/IG only) Organic Social Reach
5,761,349 1,642,231 2,735,431

In this door knock re-targeting strategy, ads used API data on Facebook to target individuals that CASA in Action has door knocked. The first step in the funnel was to market a “Why your vote matters” style ad to them so that they see the brand kicking them to a landing page with candidate and election information. As part of the funnel, they were then re-targeted with a series of ads about the candidates. The second audience expanded beyond the field universes to include cold contacts of Black and Latinx low-propensity voters (as indicated by the tag ‘does not engage with in political content’). The targets received the same funnel of ads with the final ad set of a pledge to vote, which generated leads for the campaign.

Media Market /
Digital Target Region
Target Audience Channels
Prince William
+ Stafford

Virginia Beach
+ Norfolk
Demographic: Age (18-65+), Gender (Male, Female), Language (English/Spanish), Income (under $75k), Geo (VA) Organic: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter
Behaviors/Interests: Latin American music, Bachata (music), African-American music, Black Lives Matter, Hip hop music, BET or R&B/Soul, Hispanic culture, Latino culture Paid: Facebook Ads, boosted FB posts and Lives, Google Ads, Pandora, radio (Spanish language), other traditional media

Organic Social High Performers

Paid Social Ad Samples

“These victories have already resulted in tangible state-level gains for CASA in Action’s members and the broader immigrant and working class communities,” closed Estela Esquivel, CASA in Action Member. “From drivers’ cards for all, growing minimum wage, increased resources for ESL language instruction in schools, and tuition equity for families, we have seen the power of our community when we stand together and vote for champions that will fight for us in Richmond.”

Turnout by CASA in Action County

While Prince William County has consistently outperformed the state overall in terms of overall democratic vote share, thanks in part to CASA in Action’s work, Democratic vote share in Prince William County beat the state Democratic vote share with an 8.4% margin, the largest such margin in more than 5 years. This overperformance helped drive 5 of 6 CASAiA-endorsed candidates in the region to victory.

Due to resource constraints on our program, we unfortunately were unable to allocate the full complement of resources we had wanted to Virginia Beach, and while our teams there did outstanding work, the less-robust program we were able to run in that region shows in the results.

County D Votes Democratic Vote Share % Share vs all State
Prince William 88,850 56.80% +8.40%
Virginia Beach 73,217 45.50% -3.10%
Statewide 1,588,118 48.4

Performance vs 2017 Results

CASA in Action helped drive major increases in Democrat voter turnout in Prince William County. While the number of Democratic votes cast statewide in 2021 vs 2017 increased by 12.43% overall, our progress at Democratic voter turnout in Prince William County was nearly double that statewide growth, increasing by more than 24%.

County Change in Total Dem Votes from 2017-2021 Dem voter turnout performance improvement vs state avg (12.43%)
Prince William 24.18% +11.74%
Virginia Beach 10.33% -2.11%

Thank You to our Incredible Team and Supporters

Our election programs blend the sophistication of an experienced electoral organization with the expertise and deep knowledge that comes from not only organizing in our communities every day of the year, but being of, from, and led by our community members.

Our diverse, experienced, accomplished, and community-hired canvassing team began running their COVID-safe persuasion-mobilization program on Virginia doors in July of this year, with a focus on mobilizing Black and brown voters generally, and specifically on solidifying the votes of ‘low propensity’ voters from these communities--voters whom CASA in Action helped bring into this powerful voting bloc in the first place. We set out this cycle to knock on the doors of nearly 70,000 Virginians, to make calls and texts to tens of thousands, and to reach millions with a powerful targeted digital communication program. Accordingly, this election saw the most votes for the Democratic Party in the history of Virginia.

Our election programs blend the sophistication of an experienced electoral organization with the expertise and deep knowledge that comes from not only organizing in our communities every day of the year, but being of, from, and led by our community members.

In our persuasion and mobilization efforts, we have found that this most essential coalition of Virginians is concerned most about equitable pandemic recovery, the strengthening of union jobs, economic opportunity for their families, and safe and affordable housing. Candidates who wish to retake Virginia for the Democratic Party and the progressive agenda will need to focus on these issues if they hope to recapture success--and CASA in Action will be part of a push to make sure these voter concerns are prioritized in the future.

CASA in Action performed this work in cooperation alongside an incredible coalition, including most importantly labor partners like SEIU and CWA and non-profit partner organizations like Way to Win, Movement Voter Project, Women Donors Network, and Commonwealth Forward.

Executive Director Statement

We are so, so proud of our team, our community, and our allies for the way all of you showed up to fight. There is time to reflect, but there is no time for despair or surrender. CASA in Action has our eyes firmly set on our largest, most ambitious political campaign in our history in 2022 as we not only fight back in Virginia, but also return to Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Maryland to engage in critical battles for the future of our 120,000+ immigrant and working class members.

We are incredibly grateful to those partners who saw the danger and invested generously in the grassroots programs of CASA in Action and our allies, but my hope for the lesson this experience has given us is this: no victories are certain, no victories are permanent, and we can never, never, never afford to take a step back from the fight for justice. Over and over again, the Right has proven itself adaptable, cunning, and well-resourced. We believe in the courage of our membership and of our powerful grassroots campaigns to win any victory, but it’s impossible for us to fight without your support. In the face of these results, we’re confident the larger donor community will take this fact to heart. Now and always, we are in this together, and we succeed or fail together. We cannot wait to win with you in 2022.

Siempre en la lucha,

Alonzo Washington
Executive Director, CASA in Action

Gustavo Torres
President, CASA in Action

Alonzo Washington
Executive Director, CASA in Action

Gustavo Torres
President, CASA in Action

For more information on CASA in Action, or our 2022 election plans in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, please contact CASA in Action Director of Development Jesse Steele, [email protected]