The challenge will be cutting through the noise.

Voters will be consumed by a presidential contest that features an unpopular incumbent, as well as a fiercely contested battle for the House. And there are plenty of competitive statewide races in the target states, like the Senate races in Arizona, Pennsylvania and Michigan, and open governor’s seats in North Carolina and New Hampshire — meaning donors may be inclined to put their dollars elsewhere and down-ballot races may not be top of mind for voters.

But Williams said she feels that down-ballot Democrats have momentum after a series of wins in 2022 and 2023. That includes flipping the Virginia state House to claim full control of the state legislature earlier this year — and block Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s agenda.

Virginia Democrats leaned heavily on protecting abortion rights, a message that Williams said “without question … remains a core issue” and will play into next year’s races. She also noted that having other races on the ticket can help bring volunteers into a state.

“We cannot achieve the things that we want to achieve as Democrats … without both a state and a federal strategy,” Williams said. “Donors, and frankly voters, are more engaged in these races than ever before because of the way the Supreme Court has said that the work needs to be done in the states.”

She also hopes to juxtapose Democratic legislative victories in state legislatures with the chaos in the Republican-controlled House. “It calls into question Republicans’ ability to lead and focus on the matters and the issues that matter most,” she said. “It really allows voters also to see what Democratic leadership can look like.”

Williams has been a longtime fixture at the DLCC. She joined the committee in 2005 as director of financial services after serving in a number of political fundraising roles. She left the DLCC in 2011 to be vice president of a government affairs consulting firm before returning to the committee in 2015 as chief operating officer. She became deputy executive director in 2017 and executive director in 2019.

Williams said she is confident that voters will turn out for Democrats down the ballot even if President Joe Biden isn’t motivating voters at the top of the ticket. She pointed to strong special election performances in statehouses across the country this year, saying that voters “understand the stakes.”

Williams said the stage legislative candidates will focus on “very local conversations” even as a likely rematch between Biden and former President Donald Trump inundates voters. And the DLCC is reaching out to communities and districts — like those in rural areas — that may otherwise be overlooked by races further up the ballot, she said.

“How do we continue to elevate the importance and the stakes of these races in not just a crowded environment, because we’ve got target overlap, but also in a very saturated media market?” she said. “How do we continue to create space to tell the story of success that Democrats have had in policy ways and delivering for voters?”

The answer, she said, is putting these races on voters’ radars as early as possible. Last week, the committee announced a six-figure investment across six states for next year’s races.

“We feel strong headed into 2024,” Williams said. “We know that it is big in terms of opportunity and impact, and also big in terms of a very crowded environment. I think we are better positioned than we have ever been to position legislative Democrats in the strongest way.”

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