Targeting Our Work

SSPA’s Targeting Philosophy

We target our work so that our time is spent on things with the greatest chance of moving the needle. We target elections that are toss-ups and near toss-ups, with candidates who need a boost (not a miracle) to get over the top. We don’t focus on sure bets or hopeless causes, no matter how much we personally love or are inspired by a particular candidate (or detest the opposition).

We analyze multiple data sources to assess a candidate’s chances of winning. We closely follow major and up-and-coming national political analysts.  We consider a range of data sources including local analysts, academics, local and national grassroots groups, and news reports; we also directly analyze the candidate, voting trends, demographic shifts, and more.

We target races that are either complete toss-ups or those that are leaning slightly to one side or the other, believing that is where a relatively small group like our own can tip the balance. Where possible, we focus on states with multiple races, where there is vertical integration and potential synergy in strengthening the entire Democratic ticket and in maximizing Democratic turnout.

Special Considerations for our Fundraising Priorities

For our fundraising targets, we take an even closer look, and raise money for only a subset of our targeted elections. Using current and historical financial data from sources such as Open Secrets, we look for candidates who are underfunded and where more money would make the biggest difference – those candidates with a solid chance of winning but who need financial help. This includes candidates with less money than their opponents, those who are similarly funded, and also those who already have more money but not as much as we think might be needed to win in a Republican district (this decision varies by race, and includes many factors). We don’t raise funds for candidates who we feel are already likely to win with current funding, those who are unlikely to win even with additional funding, or those who already have, or are likely to get, sufficient funding from others (although this is a difficult call). This is a changing landscape and we frequently adjust our fundraising targets to reflect who has the most urgent need for an infusion of funds at a given time.

A decision to omit a candidate from our fundraising slate does not mean we do not support the candidate. We take a range of actions – phonebanking, texting, letter-writing, and canvassing – to promote our targeted candidates regardless of whether they are on our current fundraising slate.