case studies

Cape and Islands Democratic Council

Following the election of Donald Trump in the 2016, newly elected Democratic State Senator Julian Cyr and leaders of the Cape and Islands Democratic Council committed to investing in an organizing program to achieve victories on a local level.  In order to build a bench of candidates capable of winning back legislative seats, the CIDC set a long-term goal of flipping local and county seats to increase representation of Democratic elected officials, win on progressive issues at Town Meetings, and increase Democratic voter turnout to win the Cape for statewide candidates.

The Challenge

Once with full Democratic representation at all levels of government, Cape Cod has been known in recent years to be a ‘purple district’ with only 3 of 8 state legislative seats and 36% of municipal seats held by Democrats.  Since 2014, the Democratic nominee for Governor has lost the region which Republicans have been steadily gaining municipal seats over time.

While the region has engaged in political activism, the aging population means that a new generation of activists needed to be trained and mobilized to run the campaigns of the future.  As an all-volunteer organization, the CIDC needed to professionalize their operation to better equip their candidates and activists with the strategy and tools needed to run winning campaigns.

Our Strategy

CIDC hired Field First following our work in 2016 to elect Democrat Julian Cyr to the MA state senate.  In a stunning electoral victory, Julian became the youngest LGBT person to serve in the MA legislature. As a firm, we knew that the key to winning future victories on the Cape began with a serious investment in the training and recruitment of candidates and volunteers followed by targeted, strategic plans for identifying support and turning out voters.

Our Work

For our third consecutive year, Field First is excited to support and grow the infrastructure of the CIDC.

Field First has built a comprehensive database of the more than 700 seats held across the Cape and works with CIDC leadership to identify priority seats to fill or flip Democrat.  Each winter, Field First partners with the CIDC and Mass Alliance to organize a day-long training for candidates considering potential runs for office.  Field First builds a strategic plan for each targeted race and town meeting issue including turnout predictions, win numbers, a voter contact universe, and recommendations on overall strategy.  Throughout the year, Field First team members run weekly strategy calls to provide support and guidance to CIDC leadership and candidates.

Field First has also organized the recruitment and launch of volunteer fellowship training programs to grow the activist base on the Cape and regularly runs virtual trainings to ensure activists understand the latest database technology.

In the fall of 2016 and 2018, Field First provided on-the-ground leadership for the Get Out the Vote operations for Senator Julian Cyr, CIDC candidates, and the democratic coordinated campaign ticket.

Our Outcomes

Field First is proud that our work with the CIDC has led to increased democratic representation, a stronger candidate pipeline, victories on progressive issues at town meeting, and an expanded pool of campaign-ready activists.

After two years of strategic targeting and investment in key local races, Democrats now hold 37.94% of Cape & Islands district – an 8.13% increase in Democratic representation as compared to a 14.29% decrease in Republican representation since 2017.

Field First has been proud to support the CIDC in achieving decisive victories in:

  • 2018 Democratic Coordinated Campaign – Won the Cape and Islands for all statewide elected officials and Congressman Bill Keating.
  • Cape and Islands – In 2018, successfully won State Senator Julian Cyr’s first re-election (62%-38%).
  • Barnstable County – In 2018, flipped County Commission seat from Republican to Democrat with the election of Ron Bergstrom (50.2%-49.7%).
  • Barnstable – In 2017 elected Democrat Paula Schnepp to town council to defeat 2-term Republican incumbent in Precinct 12 and elected Democrat Britt Beedenbender to town council in Precinct 4. The council went from 31% Democrat in 2017 to 46% Democrat in 2018.
  • Chatham – Elected Democrat Shareen Davis to unseat an incumbent selectman in 2017 (65%-35%).
  • Dennis – Elected first-time candidate Democrat Chris Flanagan to the selectboard by a narrow victory of 16 votes in 2018.
  • Wellfleet – Elected Democrat Kathleen Bacon to an open selectman seat in 2017 (70%-30%) after receiving more votes than anyone previously elected to the Wellfleet selectboard.
  • Truro – Elected Democrat Kristen Reed to Truro Board of Selectman in 2018 after receiving more votes than the incumbent she ran against. Passed a measure at 2017 Town Meeting to allow for the building of accessory dwelling units.
  • Provincetown – Passed measure on Harbor Hills at 2017 Town Meeting and won subsequent election to increase the number of mid-level housing units.
  • Bourne – Elected Democrat Elizabeth Brown to open seat on the planning board in 2017 (topped ticket in a 5-way race).
  • Harwich – Elected Democrat Elizabeth Harder to Assembly of Delegates in 2018, flipping the seat.
  • Orleans – Passed measure to change zoning laws at 2017 Town Meeting to provide incentives for housing units that meet community goals to help revitalize the town’s three business districts.
  • Yarmouth – Elected Democrat Mark Forest to an open selectman seat in 2017 (69%-21%)