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ICYMI: NPR: “Democrats Made Midterm Gains In Rural Areas. Can They Keep Them?”

Yesterday, NPR’s All Things Considered highlighted the work of RuralOrganizing.org to reduce conservative margins in small towns and rural communities.

Listen to NPR's Coverage of RuralOrganizing.org:

Reporter Ximena Bustillo explained:

“Strong performances in states like Illinois, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington showed Democrats can sustain and win over rural areas, where Republicans have generally done well. Even in places like North Carolina, Georgia and Colorado, Democrats proved to be competitive, running up margins of past elections and flipping some districts, even if they did not always win…

If you look at John Fetterman, [he] very much ran a 'both/and approach'," said Matt Hildreth, executive director of Rural Organizing, a progressive rural organizing firm. "John Fetterman was able to mobilize the base and also engage voters outside of the traditional Democratic base, specifically voters in small towns and rural communities…

Tim Ryan really focused on persuading voters outside of the Democratic base and oftentimes found himself at odds with the Democratic base," Hildreth explained. "What we found is that really turned off base voters in Ohio and any of the gains that he was able to make up through those efforts were undercut by low turnout amongst the base."

Both parties are already setting the stage for the 2024 election, which includes a presidential ticket and likely higher turnout. The Biden administration will be faced with the challenge of how to communicate its policy platforms in rural areas — many items, like health care, student debt relief and abortion protection, are popular among some rural demographics.”

According to Matt Hildreth, Executive Director of RuralOrganizing.org:

For the last four years, our team here at RuralOrganizing.org has been writing the winning playbook to cut Republican margins in small towns and rural communities. Rural voters have a massive impact on the Senate and Supreme court. In about 20 years, half the U.S. population will live in eight states. That’s why Republicans have focused on consolidating votes in red states and rural areas. But the good news for Democrats is that good policy is still good politics. There’s a new generation of Democrats in Congress like Sens. Mark Kelly, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Tina Smith, and Reps. Derek Kilmer, Angie Craig, Tom O’Halleran, and Josh Harder who are focused on delivering concrete results for small towns and rural communities. And these Democrats who are focused on increasing good paying jobs, decreasing daily expenses, and improving the quality of life in Rural America all had a good year. 

The mission of RuralOrganizing.org is to rebuild a rural America that is empowered, thriving, and equitable. Follow us on Twitter @RuralOrganizing.

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