Mallory McMorrow, Who Lashed out at G.O.P., Becomes a Democratic Money Machine

Mallory McMorrow, the state senator whose fiery April floor speech denouncing Republicans’ treatment of the L.G.B.T.Q. community as a “hollow, hateful scheme” made her an instant political celebrity on the left, has raised more than $1 million on behalf of her fellow Michigan Democrats.

For an individual state lawmaker, that’s an impressive haul, campaign finance experts said — although in the past, high-profile legislative races in other states have seen as much as $10 million in total spending. Ms. McMorrow’s fund-raising sum is more than twice as much as she raised in her 2018 race, in which she unseated a Republican incumbent.

In an interview, Ms. McMorrow said her aim was to help flip the Michigan State Senate, which Republicans have controlled since 1984.

“I am fundamentally convinced the only way we move the needle on anything in Michigan is to flip the Senate,” Ms. McMorrow said. “I mean, we’ve run from behind forever.”

Reflecting the national platform Ms. McMorrow gained after her speech, more than 11,000 donors from all 50 states have contributed, according to her campaign treasurer, Ray Wert, who is her husband and a journalist. She has become a regular on liberal podcasts, late-night television and MSNBC in the weeks since her viral moment, which came after a colleague in the Michigan State Senate accused her in a fund-raising email of wanting to “groom and sexualize” children.

The crush of fund-raising trips and media requests has been so overwhelming, Ms. McMorrow said, that she has enlisted the pro bono help of Lis Smith, a Democratic communications strategist who most recently worked on the presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg, who is now the transportation secretary. Anthony Mercurio, a former finance director for Mr. Buttigieg who helped him raise millions in 2020, has also been brought on board.

The money has gone into a combination of accounts, her campaign said: the Michigan Senate Democratic Fund; the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee; her leadership fund, which is named A More Perfect Michigan; and her own candidate committee.

Through A More Perfect Michigan, Ms. McMorrow is helping fellow Democrats in seven key races. The current composition of Michigan’s 38-seat Senate is 22 Republicans and 16 Democrats, though Democrats say the chamber is newly competitive after an independent commission redrew the district boundaries. If Democrats retain the governorship and flip just three of those seats, they will secure the majority.

Republicans have long held the balance of power in state legislatures nationwide, reflecting conservatives’ greater focus on down-ballot races and their deeper institutional roots within state politics. They currently control 54 percent of state legislative seats across the country and 61 percent of the 98 chambers that are contested by party, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Democrats are hoping to win back some of those chambers in November, though the political environment could make it challenging just to defend many of the 37 they still control. Some Democratic strategists say privately that they might have better luck in 2024, anticipating that voters’ sour views of the economy and of the current administration will have shifted in their favor by then.

State legislatures, long considered a backwater of American politics, have become hotly contested since the 2020 election. Following his loss, former President Donald J. Trump and his allies pressured state lawmakers in Arizona, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to overturn President Biden’s victories in those states. Republicans are pushing to win uncontested majorities in those and other key swing states, with an eye toward gaining full control of the machinery of state elections in 2024.

For their part, Democrats have poured millions into redistricting over the past few years, a stepped-up effort that came in response to the deep losses they suffered after Republicans redrew district lines heavily in their favor following the 2010 midterm elections.

Ms. McMorrow, 35, grew up in New Jersey and graduated from the University of Notre Dame. She represents the 13th District in the Michigan State Senate, a suburban area outside of Detroit, but is seeking re-election in the newly redrawn Eighth District.

She faces one opponent, Marshall Bullock, in the Democratic primary on Aug. 2.

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