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Flip the 49th Campaign Accomplishes Its Goal: Gets Democrat Elected

Volunteers and supporters at Democrat Mike Levin's victory party in Del Mar, ...

Photo by Alison St John

Above: Volunteers and supporters at Democrat Mike Levin's victory party in Del Mar, Nov. 6, 2018.

Democrat Mike Levin’s victory in the 49th Congressional District was the product of two years of community organizing by the group Flip the 49th.

The Flip the 49th campaign did things a little differently from most political campaigns.

The energy behind the "flip" campaign began to build immediately after President Donald Trump was elected. Almost two years ago, weekly protests began outside Rep. Darrell Issa’s office in Vista. That continued until after Issa resigned early this year.

Terra Lawson-Remer, the consultant behind Flip the 49th, said it took massive voter commitment and a strong organizational strategy to accomplish their goal, even before a candidate was chosen in the primary election.

“Usually, you have organizing that happens in the context of a campaign,” she said. “We wanted to have organizing that happened in the context of the community, that was targeted and strategic, but was not only about one candidate.”

Lawson-Remer said Flip the 49th raised about $700,000, which was used to bring together different interest groups and channel their energy into one cause: to flip the district from red to blue.

“There was the grassroots enthusiasm, there was the ability to mobilize resources and there was a clear and cogent strategy,” she said, “and it was those three things that allowed us to build the infrastructure to support the grassroots work.”

Lawson-Remer said the group hired five paid staff and mobilized 1,000 volunteers who knocked on 56,000 doors. She said they tallied a total of 67,000 phone calls, engaged in 25,000 conversations with neighbors and district voters, and generated commitments from 16,000 low propensity voters to show up at the polls to vote for Mike Levin.

The group will meet next month to regroup, she said, and decide whether to continue.

Democrat Mike Levin’s victory in the 49th Congressional District was the product of two years of community organizing by the group Flip the 49th. The group's campaign did things a little differently from most political campaigns.

Note: The original version of this story named the source as Terra Lawrence Remer. We regret the error.

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