NORTH CAROLINA -- Ahead of 2020, at least one national political organization is hoping voters will pay attention to more than just the presidential race.

North Carolina is one of a dozen states being targeted by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) this election cycle. The group’s goal is to turn state legislatures blue.

“American democracy is on the line in 2020,” said Jessica Post, President of the DLCC.

North Carolina joins Texas, Wisconsin, and a handful of other states on the DLCC’s shortlist.

Back in 2018, Democrats busted the Republican Party’s super-majorities in the North Carolina General Assembly. Now, the DLCC wants Democrats to take control of a chamber. To do so, they need to pick up six seats in the House or five in the Senate.

“Having control of one chamber in the legislature -- whether it's the Senate, which is also winnable, or the House -- it’s a must do for 2020," Post said. "It's an absolute imperative."

But why? Next year is a census year, meaning the General Assembly will get to draw new congressional and legislative district lines.

Post says she wants to guarantee that Democrats, not just Republicans, will have a seat at the table for those redistricting conversations. Controlling a legislative chamber gives Democrats that chance.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that they have no role to play in policing potential partisan gerrymanders, including in the case out of North Carolina. That decision left those looking to reshape the state’s legislative and congressional maps with two options: the General Assembly and the state courts.

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“We want to make sure that the lines are fairly drawn,” Post said. “About half of that congressional delegation should be Democrats, about half of them should be Republicans. That’s not the case right now. That map is gerrymandered beyond belief.”

(During oral arguments before the Supreme Court in March, lawyers for state Republicans worked to run holes through this theory of proportional representation.)

For Democrats at the state level, Post says getting the right candidates is key. She says they must focus and run on local issues. 

Post admits that in the past, Democrats have neglected state houses, a complaint raised recently by a Democrat in the North Carolina state senate during an interview on Spectrum’s Capital Tonight.

“We have focused much more on the presidential elections and on congressional elections," said Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, D-Wake County. "We have left our state legislatures behind."

At the national level, Post says the DLCC aims to spend about $50 million this election cycle, with the goal of competing with their Republican counterpart. She says the DLCC spent about $10 million by comparison in 2010.