What does Ten Dems do?
We have one mission, to respond to the question: “For which candidates is my donation or volunteering likely to make the greatest difference in helping Democrats keep control of the Senate, and gain control of the House, in 2024?” Our super-priority list identifies the 10 Senate and House candidates in toss-up races who most need donations and volunteers. We also publish a supplementary list: the other candidates in toss-up races, who also need donations and volunteers, though their need is not quite as pressing as the top 10. Both lists are updated at least every month.
How does Ten Dems decide which Senate and House candidates to list?
We talk privately on a regular basis with leading political experts who have the best overview of every Senate and House race in the country, including the real-time financial situation of each candidate. Those experts identify each month which are the genuine toss-up races (forecast to be within 1 or 2 percentage points), and which toss-up candidates are most in need of donations and volunteers. We exclude candidates when they are in competitive Democratic primaries, or their Republican opponent is not yet known and may affect whether the race will be close, or there is a more-than-remote chance of redistricting in the state which may affect whether a House race will be close. We do not screen candidates based on their records or policy positions – we leave it to each person to decide which Democratic candidates they wish to support.
Why does Ten Dems encourage donations directly to the campaigns of candidates?
Donations directly to candidates have been described by a leading political analyst as “like gold”. Each candidate knows his/her race better than anyone, is more focused than anyone on winning the race, and knows at any given point in the campaign where money and volunteers can be deployed most effectively. FCC regulations give discounted rates on TV and radio ads to candidates, but not to PACs and other outside groups, so donations directly to candidates go further. We do not discourage donations to PACs and outside groups; many of them do excellent work; it is up to each individual to decide the mix of their donations.
Who runs Ten Dems?
Those who administer Ten Dems are independent and work without pay, registered Democrats but not part of any Democratic Party entity. Ten Dems was started by three people with experience volunteering for and donating to Democrats in House, Senate and Presidential campaigns. They had originally met as students at Stanford University; after divergent careers, in 2017 they reunited to form what is now Ten Dems. Recently the three founders have assumed an advisory role to a husband-wife team of retired physicians who are now the primary managers. Jane McClure and Bill Eggimann married while students at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine. After graduation and residency training, they had individual private practices in the Bay Area. In 1995, they moved to western Alaska. There, for the next 26 years, they were part of a Native health care system providing for 30,000 people scattered in a roadless region the size of Washington state. Jane and Bill had both been politically active in their youths. In recent years, they have engaged in a variety of volunteer activities in local, state and national elections. Now they are committed to the mission of Ten Dems.
Who uses the Ten Dems candidate lists?
The candidate lists are used by members of Ten Dems Network (an independent group of hundreds of grassroots volunteers across the country), and by a number of other donor and volunteer networks across the USA. The lists are also used by others via the Ten Dems website.