Agencies Policy & Regulation

Blue State’s Tessa Simonds talks US election funding, economy and abortion law


By Richard Draycott, Associate Editor

March 27, 2024 | 5 min read

One is allegedly losing his marbles; the other could be heading to jail. Regardless, Joe Biden and Donald Trump will soon fight it out to become the most powerful man on Earth. Tessa Simonds of Blue State tells Politics for Drummies that this election will be driven by low-level grassroots donations in a way never seen before.

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New York-based Blue State is an adtech company that specializes in online fundraising and campaign consultancy. Simonds herself has been a well-known political operator for 20 years, with two ‘tours’ at the Democratic National Committee and experience working on campaigns for Senator Warren and for the Biden/Harris campaign. Simonds says her strength lies in engaging and mobilizing grassroots support through digital organization.

Speaking about the finances that will drive the forthcoming US election, Simonds says: “We see more campaigns relying for a greater percentage of their overall revenue on grassroots fundraising. For example, for the Warren campaign, we were 100% funded by grassroots supporters. That is unusual and I don’t know many people in the US besides Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders who could do that. But we are seeing more people taking that spirit up and really thinking through how to raise all the money they need to win?”

She adds: “I believe in grassroots fundraising. I think it’s an important philosophy for politics. But that aside, if you are a candidate running for office, you have to raise the money you need to win, period. We’ve seen more campaigns emphasizing this and I think it’s great to see the Biden campaign has been building early, building a big donor database and doing thoughtful and intentional fundraising. He actually has a cash advantage over the Republicans now.”

The US economy will naturally be one of the key issues that will drive the election narrative and Simonds believes that President Biden hasn’t received the credit he deserves for the steps that he has taken during his time in office to safeguard the US economy.

She says: “I think that there will be continued conversations about how strong the economy is in the US and who is the best fit to actually build an economy that works for people who aren’t rich and don’t have material wealth. I think that student loans will continue to come up in the election. It’s something that Biden has prioritized, to the chagrin of a lot of people. But really thinking through how we build an economy for the future makes sure that young people can thrive in the US.”

Another key and highly emotive issue that Simonds believes will sway voters in 2024 is the highly emotive subject of abortion access. She says: “This is a hugely important issue to myself, my friends, family, as well as women and people who can reproduce. We are going to see this as a central piece of the 2024 election, Biden’s campaign, as well as statewide elections. It is very much an issue that Democrats are running for governor on and attorney generals are running on, protecting the right to reproductive care, protecting the right to abortion.

“It’s about the control of your body. I mean, the Alabama Supreme Court has recently ruled that IVF is no longer allowed and they’ve stopped it. It’s interesting where that comes from. That doesn’t feel like it’s a totally Republican idea. But it’s contradictory to the natural behavior of Republicans, which is freedom and personal freedom and so on. There’s a sort of Christian nationalists infiltrating the Republican Party, perhaps. I don’t want to get too political here, but I think it’s interesting to observe these habits, these little things emerging, which on a one-off basis are quite threatening, but on a grand scale, would be very worrying for the female population in the US.”

Agencies Policy & Regulation

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