Pepper Launches Blue Ohio

Former Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper launches Blue Ohio, spearheading effort to boost Democrats’ state legislative campaigns

April 21, 2022

David Pepper and It Starts Today are excited to announce a joint project, Blue Ohio, that will crowdsource support for Democratic state legislative nominees using small-dollar monthly donations. The funds collected will ensure Democratic state legislative nominees have resources for their general election campaigns.

Pepper, an author, lawyer, and former elected official, was the Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party from 2015-2021. In his recent book, Laboratories of Autocracy: A Wake-Up Call From Behind Enemy Lines, he details the ways in which Republican statehouses like those in his home state of Ohio no longer operate as functioning democracies.

Protected with gerrymandered districts, Republican state legislators face no electoral consequences from voting for unpopular, anti-democratic legislation. Adding to the lack of accountability, Democratic state legislative races in traditionally red districts are notoriously underfunded, and often uncontested altogether.

“We need to fight for democracy in all 50 states, all the time, or democracy erodes,” says Pepper. “Investing a seed amount in defending democracy every year, everywhere is an investment that will pay off time and again.”

Pepper was not alone in identifying funding for every race as a critical need for Democrats. In 2017, It Starts Today identified this issue and piloted a monthly recurring donation model in Missouri that benefits Democratic state legislative nominees. The success of that program has served as the catalyst for Every State Blue.

Every State Blue will begin its expansion in Pepper’s home state of Ohio and is already eyeing projects in other states like Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Georgia and Texas.

It Starts Today was founded by Jonathan Zucker after the 2016 election. Since its founding, It Starts Today’s state and national programs have raised and distributed millions to Democratic nominees. Zucker was the first COO and second CEO of ActBlue and has spent his career at the intersection of campaign finance and technology. It Starts Today can be found at

Related Posts

Join Us And Special Guest Ed O’Neill!

Join Us And Special Guest Ed O’Neill!

This month we're joined by special guest and Youngstown, Ohio native Ed O'Neill! You may have laughed along with him as Al Bundy in Married With Children, or as Jay Pritchett on Modern Family. But he agrees: what Republicans are doing in Ohio is no laughing matter....

read more
New Yorker: State Legislatures are Torching Democracy

New Yorker: State Legislatures are Torching Democracy

Even in moderate places like Ohio, gerrymandering has let unchecked Republicans pass extremist laws that could never make it through Congress. By Jane Mayer August 6, 2022 Ohio’s voters are moderate, but its legislature is to the right of South Carolina’s....

read more

Read the Report

Enter your email for a copy of our whitepaper, which explains:

• why downballot races are the most powerful, untapped resource for Democrats,

• how supporting downballot nominees will transform statewide and national races,

• what impact our model would have had on crucial elections (2016 and 2020)

And more!

Wonderful! The report is on its way...