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Courage Campaign: Democrats Path Back To Power In House Ran Right Through California

Group Says California, Led by Women, Young Voters, and People of Color, Was Critical to the Democrats Retaking Power in Washington

Statement from Eddie Kurtz, executive director of the California-based Courage Campaign: 

“Democrats path back to power in the House ran right through California last night. We long believed that if Democrats had any chance to take back the House, California would have to play a key role. That’s why we designed, developed and executed our #CaliforniaCounts campaign to ensure victory in key districts, helping to make last night’s victory a reality. 

“This victory was made possible thanks to the thousands and thousands of grassroots activists who have been working day and night, not just to mobilize traditional voters, but to turn out women, young voters, and people of color who traditional campaigns often ignore. Those voters were the difference in winning districts like CA48, CA49, and CA25. Campaigns like ours, and these voters, are key to winning in the future both in California and nationwide. 

“Winning the House majority takes us one step closer to getting our country back on track and will put a necessary check on the runaway Trump Administration.”

Earlier this year, Courage Campaign launched the #CaliforniaCounts initiative, a campaign to take back the House of Representatives by flipping key seats in California. Courage Campaign’s #CaliforniaCounts was heavily focused on phone banking, making more than 350,000 calls and sending more than 380,000 text messages. These remarkable totals could not have been reached without deep partnerships with our allies at the United Domestic Workers (AFSCME Local 3930), Flip the 14, WAVE, Fight Back CA, and others. 

The campaign was shared and supported by celebrities and activists Martin Sheen, Chelsea Handler, Debra Messing, Eugenio Derbez, Kumail Nanjiani, Kristen Bell, Patton Oswalt, Misha Collins, Chaz Bono, Morgan J. Freeman, Kirk Acevedo, Chris Evans, Alyssa Milano, Kamau Bell, John Leguizamo and many others. #CaliforniaCounts aimed to turn out key voters by leveraging the latest cognitive research into how voters make decisions. It also utilized peer-to-peer text messaging and the new voter engagement tool, ‘VoterCircle,’ to harness the power of the more than 1.4 million Courage Campaign members. 


This election cycle, Courage Campaign has:

  • Driven more than 350,000 calls and more than 380,000 text messages to voters considered less likely to turn out in key California House districts, particularly young voters, people of color, and women.
  • Delivered pizzas to voters at the OC Registrar of Voters Office in Santa Ana during extremely long lines and wait times.
  • Hosted a #CaliforniaCounts robocall to over 500,000 Latinx voters in nine districts in California with Eugenio Derbez.
  • Organized multiple calls and emails with grassroots volunteers featuring #CaliforniaCounts’ Debra Messing, Martin Sheen, Don Cheadle, Chelsea Handler, Kristen Bell, Patton Oswalt, Kumail Nanjiani, Chaz Bono and others.
  • Published the California Progressive Voter Guide detailing recommendations for how progressives in the State should vote on 11 statewide ballot measures on the November ballot.
  • In the June primary, ran an active field and digital campaign to turn out enough Democrats to defeat Republican members in Congress and avoid a Top Two primary disaster.
  • Launched its third annual progressive report card, Courage Score, which indicates whether state legislators voted as progressively as their districts have on a range of core progressive issues. Those with the scores most out of step with their districts get put in the “Hall of Shame.” 

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Courage California, formerly Courage Campaign, works to unite communities organizing for progressive change, fight the forces of corruption, and hold our representatives to account in order to ensure that California’s elected officials act with courage. Our community of members envision California as a model of progressive, equitable, and truly representative democracy that sets the standard for our country.


Angela Chavez