A Historic Win in Georgia

One of the many painful things about last week's attack on our Capitol is that it so quickly overshadowed one of the best stories of the year--the stunning victory of Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff in Georgia's senate race.

The win did not happen by accident, of course--it was the culmination of years of diligent work by Stacey Abrams and dozens of voting rights leaders and frontline community groups. Their brilliance and relentlessness gives me hope for the future of our democracy, despite the terrible threat it faces right now.

I'm equally encouraged by the overwhelming response of Sierra Club's grassroots base to the Georgia race. After running a record-breaking effort in the presidential election (we mobilized 33,000 volunteers and called 5.4 million voters in battleground states), our Sierra Club Independent Action (SCIA) team was--to be perfectly honest--looking forward to a few days of downtime. Instead, after Election Day, we immediately pivoted to organizing volunteers for the Georgia runoff, where the stakes were higher than we could ever have imagined.

It was another record-breaking effort for our organization. In a matter of just a few weeks, we:

  • Mobilized 13,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Made more than 2,804,800 calls to Georgia voters
  • Sent 281,000 text messages
  • Mailed 437,940 handwritten letters to voters -- a tactic we knew was especially effective in the presidential election.

We drew on the best tools from our highly effective presidential strategy: We targeted pro-climate, infrequent voters and encouraged them to vote for our candidates, both of whom ran on strong environmental platforms and promised to re-establish America as a leader in the climate movement. By focusing on this segment of voters, we were able to effectively complement the work of our partners on the ground.

The incredible enthusiasm of our volunteer base--and our organization's ability to quickly harness momentum from the presidential election--shows great promise for our future efforts. As we continue to fight for our democracy in the coming year, there will be some key elections: Virginia's entire House of Delegates and governor's seat are up for election, and plenty of special elections remain down the road. We're also looking at an important midterm election in 2022, when we will need to fight to retain control of both the House and the Senate, which are currently held at the smallest of margins.

As we've seen in the past week, these elections have grave consequences for the future of our democracy. We have witnessed a disgraceful chapter in our nation's history, but it is not the final chapter. The victory in Georgia is a reminder that this country belongs to all of us and that when we fight together, we can win.