AL Advising

Philanthropic and Political Consulting

AL Advising works with progressive philanthropists to create a portfolio of civic engagement, policy, and advocacy investments including 501c3, 501c4, candidate, and related political giving. We also work with organizations to help them maximize their effectiveness.

Where to Give Now: May and June Primaries

Voters are voting! In May and June, a whopping 34 states will hold primary or runoff elections. There are numerous ways to organize the many upcoming races: House races by priority categories; all races by primary date; and priority states with “nested” races. At the end of this memo, you will see how we pull all of this data together for our Where to Give Now: Bang for the Buck recommendations.

If you would like to be shared on our 2018 Candidates spreadsheet to view all races, including Senate and other statewide races, email

House rankings

To create our House rankings, we started with 113 districts -- any DCCC or Swing Left target, and any Cook or Sabato race rated Likely, Lean, or Toss-up. Some DCCC targets are ranked Solid/Safe but are still included.

The rankings assume protecting Democratic incumbents and Democratic open seats is the top priority and winning open seats is easier than defeating an incumbent. Then, 2016 Democratic performance determined rankings within each priority.

Most of these districts have competitive primaries. In lieu of giving to a specific candidate, you can donate to Swing Left’s District Funds, which provide Democratic nominees in the general House elections with a financial head start.

Our priorities, number of applicable districts, and states-districts:

Bold indicates a May or June primary or runoff election.

  • Priority A: Toss-up, Dem incumbents -- 1 (PA-17)

  • Priority B: Open, D-held, Toss-up seats -- 2 (MN-1, MN-8)

  • Priority C: Open R-held, Toss-up seats -- 7 (CA-39, PA-7, WA-8, NJ-11, KS-2, MI-11, WI-1)

  • Priority D: Open, D-held, Lean D seats -- 2 (NV-3, NH-1)

  • Priority E: Open, R-held, Lean D seats -- 4 (FL-27, CA-49, AZ-2, NJ-2)

  • Priority F: R-held, Toss-up or Toss-up/Lean R seats -- 17 (FL-26, CO-6, MN-3, CA-25, CA-10, NJ-7, MN-2, NE-2, IA-1, CA-48, NY-19, OH-12, IL-12, NY-22, IL-6, TX-23, TX-7)

  • Priority G: Lean or Lean/Likely D -- 3

  • Priority H: Lean R or Lean/Likely R -- 27

  • Priority I: Likely or Likely/Solid D -- 8

  • Priority J: Likely R or Likely/Solid R -- 32

  • Priority K: Solid R -- 11

    See Appendix A for additional information on Priorities A through F. Also see below for Where to Give Now: Bang for the Buck.

    Upcoming Primaries and Top Races to Watch

    Below is a list of upcoming primary and runoff elections, including top races to watch. Note that only House races rated Toss-up, Lean Democrat, Lean Republican are included in the list below.

May 8

  • Indiana: Senate (R)
  • North Carolina: NC-9, NC-13
  • Ohio: Senate (R); Governor (D and R); OH-12, OH-16
  • West Virginia: Senate (R)

May 15

  • Idaho
  • Nebraska: NE-2
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania: Senate (R); Governor (R); PA-6, PA-8

May 22

  • Arkansas: AR-2
  • Georgia: Governor (D and R); GA-6
  • Kentucky: KY-6
  • Texas (runoff): TX-7, TX-23, TX-32

June 5

  • Alabama
  • California: Senate (D and R); Governor (D and R); CA-10, CA-21, CA-25, CA-39, CA-45, CA-48
  • Iowa: Governor (D and R); IA-1
  • Mississippi
  • Montana: Senate (R)
  • New Jersey: NJ-2, NJ-7, NJ-11
  • New Mexico: Governor (D); NM-2
  • South Dakota

June 12

  • Maine: Governor (D and R); ME-2
  • North Dakota
  • Nevada: Governor (D and R); NV-3, NV-4
  • South Carolina
  • Virginia: Senate (R); VA-2, VA-7, VA-10

June 19

  • Arkansas (runoff if needed)
  • Washington, DC

June 26

  • Colorado: Governor (D and R); CO-6
  • Maryland: Governor (D)
  • Mississippi (runoff)
  • New York (federal only): NY-11, NY-19, NY-22
  • Oklahoma
  • South Carolina (runoff)
  • Utah: Senate (D); UT-4

Nested races

Numerous states have many competitive races including “nested” races; that is, more than one overlapping geographic target such as a targeted state legislative race within a targeted congressional district or a targeted congressional district in a state with a top Senate or Governor’s race. Florida, Michigan and Minnesota include targets at all levels as well key ballot measures (more on that soon).

Note that only top Senate and Governor’s races are included below. State legislative targets include chambers targeted by either the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee and/or the National Democratic Redistricting Committee.

Below is an overview of the top states with multiple nested races:

  1. Arizona: Senate; Governor; at least three top congressionals; State Senate

  2. Colorado: Governor; one top congressional; State Senate

  3. Florida: Senate; Governor; at least three top congressionals; State Senate

  4. Michigan: Senate; Governor; at least three top congressionals; State House

  5. Minnesota: Senate; Governor; at least four top congressionals; State Senate and State House

  6. Nevada: Senate; Governor; one top congressional; State Senate and State House

  7. Ohio: Senate; Governor; at least one top congressionals; State Senate and State House

  8. Pennsylvania: Governor; at least three top congressionals; State Senate and State House

  9. Texas: Senate; at least three top congressionals

Where to Give Now: Bang for the Buck

What does all this mean? If you want the most bang for the buck, and don’t want to give in primaries, over the next two months you should support:

  • Winner of CO-6 primary; winner of Gubernatorial primary (June 26)
  • Conor Lamb in PA-17; winner of PA-7 primary (May 15)
  • Susie Lee in NV-3; Jacky Rosen for Senate (June 12)
  • Winner of OH-12 primary; winner of Gubernatorial primary (May 8)
  • Winners of TX-23, TX-7 runoffs; Beto O’Rourke for Senate (May 22)


There are also numerous down-ballot races to consider as well as grassroots organizations doing non-partisan, 501c3 voter registration efforts and 501c4 issue and candidate-focused work.

Some top organizations in these states include:


  • New Era Colorado (501c3 and 501c4)
  • Keystone Progress in Pennsylvania (501c4)
  • PLAN Action Fund in Nevada (501c4)
  • Ohio Student Association (501c3 and 501c4)
  • Texas Organizing Project (501c4)

And check out Movement Voter Project for more information about critical local vote organizations and key national networks — the best organizations working at the intersection of social movements and electoral politics.




Please feel to email Alexandra Acker-Lyons at with any questions.