2023 Post Election Report

2023

Post Election Report

Victory in Virginia!

With the powerful support of our incredible partners and allies, CASA in Action has helped secure a massive victory that will change the political trajectory of the Commonwealth. CASA in Action’s Virginia State Director, Luis Aguilar, perfectly summed up the consequences of the election as the results came in:

“Our work in Virginia culminated in an extraordinary accomplishment: the control of both chambers, with the flipping of the House and the retention of the Senate.”

CASA in Action is proud to have played our part in this victory. To highlight just one great candidate, CASA in Action was proud to support Deshundra Jefferson in her victorious campaign for Chair of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. She will make history as the first-ever woman of color to hold the position when she is inaugurated.

We’re also celebrating the ongoing success of CASA in Action’s long-term electoral power-building project in Hampton Roads. Our members and canvassers helped to secure victory for Delegates-elect Phil Hernandez and Michael Feggans, and provided major assistance to Senator Aaron Rouse’s hold of the critical seat CASA in Action helped him win in last January’s special election.

Marvin Hernandez, CASA in Action Deputy Director of Electoral Programs, said:

“These results are a testament to the power of the people and their unwavering support for candidates who share community values and will uphold these values.”

It is not a coincidence that most CASA in Action endorsees won their races. Our members engage in a rigorous process before choosing whom to support, and once we decide on that endorsement, we bring our expertise, experience, and people-powered campaigns to help them win. When candidates know that winning the endorsement of CASA in Action’s immigrant, Black, and working-class members is a crucial stepping stone to electoral victory, they make themselves truly accountable to these communities upon taking office.

In Solidarity,
Gustavo Torres
President, CASA in Action

Our Voters

CASA in Action helped drive this victory by expanding the electorate in Virginia. The results confirmed our operating principle: Black and brown voters are the powerful beating heart of progress in the Commonwealth. Our program engaged mid- to low-frequency Black and Latino voters, with the dual goals of mobilizing voters to win the election in the short term and to bring those voters into our long-term organizing structure to build year-round power. Our voters demand a brighter and more equitable future for Virginia, and they showed up this cycle to make that demand known.

Highlights

32,000

CASA in Action’s field program made outreach attempts to over 32,000 unique Latino voters

60%

Black and Latino voters constituted 60% of CASA in Action’s voter contacts. 73% of all voters contacted identified as a race other than white

82%

CASA in Action focused on working-class voters–over 82% of contacted voters had a total household income of less than $100,000, and more than 38% had household incomes less than $50,000 per year

57%

Reflecting our research on the household vote multiplying effect of mobilizing Latina and Black women voters, our outreach focused on women slightly more than men–over 57% of the voters CASA in Action engaged with were women

The multigenerational coalition

Ours was a multi-generational voting coalition – 15% of the contacted voters were aged 65 and older, and about one third of voter contact attempts were to voters 35 and younger

Our Groundwork Program

CASA in Action’s groundwork team ran a quadruple-pass voter contact program in our engagement of over 13,600 unique voters–two for persuasion, one for mobilization, and one during the critical Get Out the Vote window engagement. At each household, in addition to engaging voters in direct conversation based door rap goals adjusted daily, CASA in Action canvassers also left literature that worked in concert with mailers and digital ads targeting the same voters for true wrap-around engagement.

Winning elections requires expertise and strategy, but it also requires authentic community passion. At CASA in Action, we know our communities already have the necessary resources to fight. That’s why CASA in Action prioritizes:

This cycle, our groundwork team performed wildly above expectations. Our projections for our team’s capacity (ultimately based on fundraising realities) predicted we could reach a maximum of 55,000 doors knocked. But our team absolutely blew that projection out of the water, knocking over 81,000 doors–that’s surpassing our most optimistic projection by more than 26,000 knocks, an increase of over 51% more than our projected total.

At the same time, quality was never skimped on this campaign: our overall voter contact rate was a very solid 17.9% contact rate overall, and almost 29% of overall door knocks resulted in conversations with voters. By the cycle’s end, CASA in Action had three teams of 30 canvassers and volunteers on the streets and on the phones, strengthening underrepresented communities’ voices and influence.

Leaders Mobilizing Their Communities

As CASA in Action knocked on tens of thousands of doors in 2023, our emerging political leadership program delivered integrated training for our field teams, cultivating the next generation of campaign staffers and candidates. Over 25 canvassers underwent an extensive two-day training co-developed alongside CASA in Action’s Director of Political Leadership programs, David Whitehead. The onboarding covered the basics of a strong canvas and went deeper into campaign strategy and leadership development than ever covered at CASA in Action before. Our teams also participated in supplemental training to improve their communication at the doors and learn about data strategy and management on campaigns.

Overall, our CASA in Action groundwork teams received over 420 participant hours in extended training to increase their community outreach and leadership skills, part of a more extensive program at CASA in Action to develop civic and political leadership amongst our activist membership. This comes in addition to the powerful and ongoing leadership development program that CASA in Action’s year-round community organizing team has been implementing for decades within our membership.

We launched our Fall 2023 Campaign Leadership cohort during the Virginia campaign, with over 30 participants from six states. Cohort members are just now completing an 18-hour course on how to run and win grassroots political campaigns. They are in individualized coaching to explore their next steps as potential campaign managers, core volunteers, and first-time partisan and nonpartisan political candidates. Out of the Fall cohort, 19 were former CASA in Action canvassers, who first cut their organizing teeth on our universe’s doors with our field teams.

Groundwork Program Data

The table below demonstrates the depth and breadth of CASA in Action’s outstanding groundwork program. Doors knocked simply counts how many individual doors were knocked during the program. Voter contact attempts accounts for multiple voters living in single households, so a single knock at a household can account for various voters. The number of people canvassed is the number of individual voters CASA in Action’s groundwork team engaged. Contact rate is the percentage of those total contact attempts, and the number of voters actually reached. Finally, the table below represents only those candidates for whom CASA in Action conducted paid groundwork–other candidates for whom CASA in Action supported only with communications work and our invaluable endorsement are not captured below.

District/Race Candidate Contact Attempts Knocks Canvassed Contact Rate Outcome Rate
ALL PRINCE WILLIAM Region ALL 146,950 85,214 31,755 21.6% 5 of 8 candidates
HD21 Joshua Thomas 6,391 3,999 1,248 19.5% Won
HD22 Travis Nembhard 2,417 1,387 524 21.7% Lost
SD29 Jeremy McPike 8,766 4,412 1,737 19.8% Won
SD30 Danica Roem 18,609 11,368 4,115 22.1% Won
SD33 Jennifer Carroll Foy 4,803 2,756 1,047 21.8% Won
Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Coles District Idris O'Connor 26,513 15,261 5,769 21.8% Lost
Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Occoquan District Kenny Boddye 12,792 7,588 2,776 21.7% Won
Prince William County Board of Supervisors, Chairperson (at-large) Deshundra Jefferson 27,512 15,687 6,023 21.9% Won
Prince William County Sheriff Josh King 39,147 22,756 8,516 21.8% Lost
District/Race Candidate Contact Attempts Knocks Canvassed Contact Rate Outcome Rate
ALL STAFFORD Region ALL 39,702 24,136 6,820 21.6% 5 of 8 candidates
HD65 Joshua Cole 6,547 4,365 1,288 20% Won
SD27 Joel Griffin 39,702 24,136 6,820 17% Lost
District/Race Candidate Contact Attempts Knocks Canvassed Contact Rate Outcome Rate
ALL HAMPTON ROADS Region ALL 38,889 27,526 4,572 11.8% 3 of 3 candidates
HD94 Phil Hernandez 11,784 8,966 1,399 12% Won
HD97 Michael Feggans 20,519 14,100 2,413 12% Won
SD22 Aaron Rouse 6,586 4,460 760 12% Won
District/Race Candidate Contact Attempts Knocks Canvassed Contact Rate Outcome Rate
All CANDIDATES, ALL REGIONS ALL 225,541 136,876 43,147 19.1% 8 of 13 candidates
ALL PROGRAM, UNDUPLICATED TOTALS ALL 129,919 81,419 23,292 17.9% 8 of 13 candidates

Important data note: given the overlapping nature of political districts, CASA in Action’s groundwork team identifies several candidates at once when canvassing voter doors. We use the data at the top of this report for official tallies of our work, which counts only unduplicated knocks, contact attempts, and voters canvassed. However, to show the full scale and scope of our program, the table above shows duplicated knocks and contact attempts (e.g., a knock at a door where we spoke to voters about three candidates is thus counted three times, once for each candidate. This is why totals differ from the unduplicated program totals at the bottom of the chart.) 

Our Communications Program

We used Facebook, Instagram, and programmatic pre-roll ads to persuade and turnout English and Spanish speakers in Virginia to vote for CASA in Action endorsed candidates. The ads ran with videos and static graphics from September 15 until November 7, 2023. We made judicious use of the total $68,000 budget, prioritizing the most competitive races with messages targeting the most effective issue in that region (with insights decided direct in-district message testing).
Digital Ad Placement Example
CASA in Action voters receive the full ground treatment with multiple in-person voter contact attempts, including doors, calls, and texts. CASA in Action’s recipe for success is layering the digital treatment along with the in-person engagement: every CASA in Action voter also receives a series of digital ads repeated five to 12 times throughout the life of the program.
5x to 12x

How often a CASA in Action voter saw one of our digital ads, an ideal frequency for persuading and turning out voters

79,782

Cumulative number of devices that ads were shown to voters on, ranging from desktop, tablet, mobile, and TV

57.60%

Video completion rate on pre-roll of CASA in Action voters, which illustrates voters were interested in viewing the content

10,002

Link clicks on Meta video and static ads, with a click-through rate of 0.16%

Engagement by gender is equal.

Engagement by gender was pretty much equal, with female engagement being a fraction of a percent higher in some cases. This points to the need to lean in on all genders for effective persuasion.

We produced several graphics and two videos for each of our priority districts. This allowed us to test many issue areas that the field team believed would be persuasive in each district.  We saw that messages about living affordability, housing, and especially wages perform well. We produced a video for each top-priority district highlighting the candidate’s support on these issues. We also produced a GOTV video that ran in all districts. In some districts, pro immigration was also either a top or second top priority.

Direct Issue Insights Cumulative Impressions
Joel Griffin Housing and Wages had high and very similar engagement rates from Joel’s audience. 584,404
Josh Thomas Affordability was the clear winner for Josh’s district. 215,939
Kenny Boddye Wages were what most people engaged on for Kenny’s campaign. 376,280
Michael Feggans Affordability and Wages had identical engagement and account for nearly all clicks 481,874
Joshua King Community had over 4x more engagement than the next closest topic. 1,376,910
Idris O’Connor Wages was clearly what most people cared about, clicking 4x more than Affordability. 1,250,474
Danica Roem Interest in Affordability was higher by a decent amount, but Wages was a close second. 1,268,891
Phil Hernandez Affordability and Wages had identical engagement and account for nearly all clicks 1,115,756
TOTAL 6,248,626
CASA in Action Viewed Ads on These Popular Sites and Apps

Our Impact

The importance of securing and defending Democratic control of both chambers of Virginia’s legislature cannot be overstated, and we know our local victories will lead to powerful policy change for our members. Perhaps the most essential part of this victory, however, is not the results of the elections but how they were won and by whom. CASA in Action’s members fought for this victory in a truly grassroots campaign answerable directly to the working-class communities whose voices are so often pushed out of the political process. CASA in Action Deputy Director of Voter Engagement Marvin Hernandez summed it up best with his election night comments:

“These elections are more than just a reflection of polling data; they represent actual actions taken by engaged people—both people eligible to vote who turned out to do so and also people who are highly dedicated to the civic duty that is voting and who volunteer to turn out voters—all to elect candidates who embody their values. CASA in Action is grateful for the trust placed in us and our endorsed candidates. We are determined to honor this trust by continuing to promote justice, equity, and inclusivity in our communities. Our victories last night serve as a powerful reminder that when people come together and take action, they can bring about positive change. CASA in Action remains committed to the mission of advocating for policies and candidates that reflect the aspirations and needs of Black, Latine, indigenous, and Afro-descendant communities. We are excited to continue our work, forging a better future for all.”

There is more work to be done. While very few CASA in Action-endorsed candidates fell short of the mark on election night, those who did were painful blows, not just for those candidates but for the communities who fought for them. Our election teams are already debriefing, analyzing data, and gleaning lessons from every election, every cycle, and every canvas shift. These results bode well for hugely important elections to come. Obviously, a presidential election year lies ahead of us–one in which Virginians will also vote on crucially important congressional seats. And if that weren’t enough, we’ll have an opportunity to put a progressive Democrat in the Governor’s mansion the following year.

Your Support

CASA in Action absolutely could not have played the role we did in this historic victory without the incredible support of our partners and allies. We’re grateful to all those who supported this campaign, including our partners in labor with whom CASA in Action is always proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder. We’re also grateful for the financial support of our allies in the progressive donor organizing community, in climate justice and criminal justice electoral work, and the over 1,400 individual donors that made this work possible. Your partnership, efforts, and resources, combined with the experience, passion, and power of CASA in Action’s member-led campaigns, create a near-unstoppable political force in Virginia. And we’re going to need all the power we can get with the 2024 presidential and US Senate elections just around the corner: CASA in Action is going BIG. Not only in Virginia but in Maryland as well as key battleground states Pennsylvania and Georgia, CASA in Action will fight to elect progressive champions at all levels. We plan to deploy non-partisan accountability canvasses in the first quarter of the new year and anticipate significant primary work across all four of our core states. We’ll need your help to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, win hugely important congressional seats, and continue to build on the state-level wins we’re celebrating today. 

For more information on supporting CASA in Action’s 2024 electoral programming, please contact Senior Director of Development.
Jesse Steele
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