By Alison Jones, PCDP Chair

With Arizona now firmly in the “battleground state’’ category, the March 16 Arizona Democratic Party Executive Committee meeting was all about strategic planning for the next election cycle. Based on models from Michigan and Wisconsin – battleground states that have been successful in building their parties in “off” years – the message is clear: We cannot wait until an election year to mobilize. As we have been reminded before, 2020 will be won in 2019.

Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, representing CD2, and Bill Roe, former ADP chair, accompanied me to the meeting in Phoenix, where ADP presented a budget based on the strategic plan. ADP isn’t providing details until the plan is final. However, it is possible to say that it includes objectives such as building a robust ground game – key to continue the Arizona electorate’s transformation – year-round presence and organizing in under-represented communities, growing and professionalizing the party at every level, improving quality of data, fundraising (of course), and modernizing communications and research. The plan is aggressive in scope and budget, but fitting for a battleground state. The Executive Committee approved the budget.

What does this mean for Pima County? It is a little early to say, but if funds are available, Pima County will likely get field offices this year. ADP is ready to help every Arizona county meet the challenge.

March 9 was a good day for education at HQ. ADP Treasurer Rick McGuire gave a three-hour training for LD, club and caucus treasurers. There’s a lot to take in at these trainings, and Rick has agreed to do it again in May. I urge everyone serving in a treasurer capacity, and LD chairs, to attend. Rick stressed that every organization with a treasurer needs an assistant treasurer. He went over the most common treasurer errors and dozens of other ways to break the law. Suffice it to say, this training can keep treasurers out of trouble. We’ll announce the next one as soon as we have a date.

Tamar Rala Kreiswirth, of The Arizona Ground Game, hosted a summit for LD chairs and their PC development teams on March 3. We shared lessons learned, discussed what worked and what didn’t in the last election cycle. Richard Gooding, of AZ Blue 2020, noted that a high Democratic turnout in 2020 will not be enough. We’re going to need new strategies, including registering more like-minded voters, getting them to vote, and reaching out to Independents. Research indicates that 60% of Independents identify as Democrats. Turnout for Independents in 2018 was significantly lower that Democratic or Republican turnout, so outreach to Independents must be in the mix of top goals for 2019-2020.

I look forward to seeing you all at the Udall Dinner on April 13. It promises to be wonderful event.