What is Fighting for the Majority?
In 1998 after a Republican-controlled legislature overrode Governor Locke’s veto to create the state’s so-called Defense of Marriage Act, a dedicated group of gay and lesbian citizens recognized that if the LGBT community were to advance civil rights at the state level they would need to get involved in electoral process in a clear and powerful way. They decided to create a fundraiser to help elect legislators who would stand for equality. By and large, Democrats were the only candidates and legislators willing to do so, so the event benefitted Democrats. These citizens dubbed the successful fundraiser Fighting for the Majority. It became an annual event, and today Fighting for the Majority raises more “hard” money to support the Democratic caucuses than any other fundraiser.
Why give to Fighting for the Majority?
Funds raised by Fighting for the Majority go to directly support the election of Democratic legislators in swing districts via the House Democratic Campaign Committee and the Washington Senate Democratic Campaign (HDCC and WSDC). Armed with electoral expertise, research and polling, the WSDC and HDCC dynamically target our funds to the swing districts where they are most needed. This means, of course, Democratic legislative candidates who don’t necessarily have a large or obvious LGBT constituency in their districts nevertheless will receive LGBT support. This raises the awareness that the LGBT community is an important constituency for all Democrats in the Legislature.
How does Fighting for the Majority Work?
Fighting for the Majority is one of simplest fundraisers ever. Volunteers serve on the organizing committee, and they help get the word out. Individuals can sponsor the event starting at the $150 level, and couples may sponsor starting at $300. Sponsors who make their donation by September 27 will be recognized on the printed invitation to the sponsorship recognition event. The expense of the event is minimal so nearly all the funds raised go directly to support the retention of a Democratic majority in the Legislature. To contribute visit:www.fightingforthemajority.com
How does Fighting for the Majority fit in with the passage of the marriage legislation?
LGBT issues have been a priority of the Democratic caucus for years. While we are grateful for the Republicans who’ve supported bills we care about, unfortunately, none of the legislative progress made for the LGBT community in Washington would have been made over the last few years if Republicans had a majority in either legislative house. While there clearly are individual Republicans who support equality for LGBT people (whom we’re grateful for!), the party as a whole, and the leadership of the party in particular, have been staunch opponents of LGBT equality.
What Democratic or LGBT supporting seats could change in 2016?
House races (currently 50/48)
House Democrats are hard at work to retain Representative John Lovick (44th district, South Snohomish County) in the seat to which he was appointed after our longtime friend Hans Dunshee went to the Snohomish County Council. Other incumbent Democrats facing serious challenges in 2016 include Representative Christine Kilduff (our lesbian rising star from the 28th district, Lakewood and University Place), who won by the slimmest of margins in 2014. We have a strong chance to pick up the other seat in the 28th as well, where newcomer Mari Leavitt is challenging first-term incumbent Dick Muri. House Democrats must defend an open seat in the 1st district (Bothell and Kirkland) and also have the opportunity to pick up seats in the 5th (Issaquah, North Bend), 17th (Clark County), 26th (Gig Harbor, Bremerton), 30th (Federal Way), 35th (Mason County), and 47th (Covington/Kent) Districts.
Senate Races (currently 23/26)
Democrats must defend Senator Mark Mullet in the 5th district (Issaquah, North Bend) against a strong challenge from an incumbent representative. Our longtime foe in the 17th district (Vancouver suburbs), Don Benton, is retiring and former Representative Tim Probst has a great chance to retake the open seat. Four years ago, Tim lost by only 76 votes. Marisa Peloquin is taking on one of the most virulently anti-gay legislators, Steve O’Ban, in the 28th district (Lakewood/University Place). And Lisa Wellman is challenging Steve Litzow in the 41st district (Mercer Island/South Bellevue). By winning at least three of these four key races, Democrats will retake the majority. We must also help elect Representative Kevin Van De Wege, our longtime ally in the 24th district (Port Angeles), who is running for an open seat against the lobbyist from the Family Policy Institute of Washington.