Political Party/527

Democratic Governors Association (DGA)

DGA Logo (link)


Tax ID:





527 Organization


Political Association

Executive Director:

Meghan Meehan-Draper

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The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) is a Democratic political committee supporting the campaigns and election of Democrats to state and territorial governorships. As of October 2023, DGA represents 24 state governors and the Mayor of Washington D.C. 1

Despite usually lagging in funding behind its competitor, the Republican Governors Association, DGA has been relatively successful over the late 2010s and early 2020s. From the 2014 election cycle through the 2020 cycle, no DGA-endorsed candidate lost an incumbent reelection; the streak was broken by the defeat of then-Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak (D) in 2022. 2 3


The Democratic Governors Association (DGA) was founded in 1983 under the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to support its goals at the state level. In 2002, DGA split off from DNC as an independent organization in anticipation of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 so DGA could continue raising “soft money.” 4

In the 2000s, DGA and the Republican Governors Association (RGA) emerged as two of the most influential organizations in state-level elections. From 1999 to 2011, DGA spent $51,434,696. 5 However, the extent of DGA’s spending is often obscured by making donations to smaller nonprofits with lesser disclosure requirements that they operate. 6

In the 2014 election cycle, DGA spent $32 million on gubernatorial campaigns. Combined with the Republican Governors Association, the two organizations spent one-fifth of all expenditure for the cycle. 7

In 2010, the New York Times reported on a confidential DGA document that revealed benefits for corporate DGA “members,” including the ability to meet with governors and their staffs at conferences, “present innovative policy recommendations,” “contribute to D.G.A. policy papers on selected issues,” and meet the governors each year at the Kentucky Derby. Annual membership dues were between $10,000 and $250,000. Many large members were donors to both DGA and RGA, including Diageo, Anheuser-Busch, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, and AstraZeneca. 8

In August 2016, the Democratic Governors Association denied rumors that it had been hacked by actors connected to Russian intelligence after confirmation that DNC had been hacked. 9

2022 Election Cycle

During the 2022 election cycle, the Democratic Governors Association redesigned its website and pushed to capture more states on the momentum of the national victory over President Donald Trump in 2020. 10 In the first quarter of 2022, DGA broke its first-quarter fundraising record with $23.25 million. 11 In the first half of 2021, DGA and the Republican Governors Association raised a combined $46.6 million. 12

DGA heavily supported then-Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D-AZ) against news anchor Kari Lake (R) in the Arizona gubernatorial race. Secretary Hobbs narrowly won the race with 50.3%. of the vote. 13 14

In 2022, billionaire Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D-IL) donated $24 million to DGA which helped the governor win reelection. 15 16

In 2022, DGA won three new states, held 16 states and territories, and lost one state. 17 At the end of the cycle, DGA governors represented 57% of Americans. 18

In May 2021, DGA donated $500,000 to support Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) against a recall effort. 19


During the 2022 election cycle, the Democratic Governors Association was accused of running ads to promote controversial far-right Republican candidates, including Illinois Senator Darren Bailey (R) and then-Maryland Delegate Dan Cox (R) in Republican primaries. Though the ads were structured as attacks on these candidates or more moderate competitors, critics, including former White House official David Axelrod, claimed they would draw conservative voters to the more extreme candidates in the hopes of producing easier candidates for Democrats to defeat. 20 21

In August 2021, sexual harassment allegations were publicly levied against Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY). Initially, DGA supported Governor Cuomo. However, after months of mounting pressure against Governor Cuomo, DGA joined in demanding his resignation. 22 23

2024 Election Cycle

As of November 2023, the Democratic Governors Association had spent nearly $4 million supporting Brandon Presley (D-MS) against incumbent Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves (R), 24 who received $500,000 from the Republican Governor’s Association earlier in the year. 25

DGA formed a new PAC to support New York Governor Kathy Hochul (D) eight days before Election Day in 2023. 26 DGA was also suspected to be behind American Opportunity, an organization that began lobbying for Governor Hochul’s budget proposals in March 2023. The executive director of the DGA was listed as the president of American Opportunity, and the Albany Times-Union reported other staff connections. DGA was criticized for seemingly obscuring its backing of American Opportunity. 27

Throughout 2023, DGA gave $3 million to the Defending Bluegrass Values super PAC which supported incumbent Governor Andy Beshear (D-KY) against then-Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R-KY). 28

In September 2023, DGA announced it planned to spend $17 million with associated groups before Election Day 2023. 29

In the first half of 2023, DGA raised almost $34 million. 30

In 2023, London, Kentucky Mayor Randall Weddle and his wife, Victoria Weddle, donated $75,000 to the Democratic Governors Association. 31

Democratic Governors Association Super PAC

The Democratic Governors Association super PAC is the Democratic Governors Association’s dedicated national PAC. As of November 2023, DGA has raised almost $60 million and spent almost $42 million in the 2022 election cycle. The PAC’s largest source of funding is the DGA, but the organization also receives significant funding from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, the United Food and Commercial Workers union, the Carpenters and Joiners Union, and other companies and unions. 32

DGA PAC’s revenue and expenditure peaked in the 2018 cycle, with both at about $96 million. 33


Meghan Meehan-Draper has been the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association since January 2023. Meehan-Draper had served as the organization’s national finance director since 2019, during which time DGA outraised the Republican Governors Association for the first time, and earlier she served as major donor director since 2015. Before working at DGA, Meehan-Draper was the finance director of the Connecticut Democratic Party, from 2014 to 2015. Earlier, Meehan-Draper worked on numerous campaigns, including U.S. Representative Allyson Schwartz’s (D-CT) unsuccessful gubernatorial run, Brendan Boyle’s (D-PA) first successful U.S. Congressional campaign, U.S. Congressman Kathy Castor’s (D-FL) third reelection campaign, and Loranne Ausley’s (D-FL) unsuccessful campaign for Florida’s chief financial officer. 34 35

Governor Phil Murphy (D-NJ) is the chair of DGA. Murphy has served as governor since 2018, and served as ambassador to Germany under President Barack Obama (D) from 2009 to 2013. From 2006 to 2009, Governor Murphy was the national finance chair of the Democratic National Committee. 36

Governor Laura Kelly (D-KS) is the vice chair of DGA. She was first elected in 2019. Prior to being elected governor, Kelly served in the Kansas State Senate since 2004. 37

Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) is the policy chair of DGA. Newsom was first elected in 2019 and survived a recall attempt in 2021. Previously, Governor Newsom served as lieutenant governor for eight years, and as mayor of San Fransisco for six years. 38

Governor Wes Moore (D-MD) is the finance chair of DGA. Moore was elected in January 2023 and previously worked as chief executive officer of the Robin Hood Foundation .39

Governor Josh Shapiro (D-PA) is the strategic engagement chair of DGA. Shapiro was elected in January 2023. He had previously served as Pennsylvania Attorney General since 2017, and as a Montgomery County Commissioner and Pennsylvania Representative before then. 40

According to a 2014 article from Governing.com, DGA leadership is considered a steppingstone for potential Democratic presidential nominees. At that point, recent chairs had included presidential candidates and Governors Martin O’Malley (D-MD), Brian Schweitzer (D-MT), and Bill Richardson (D-NM). The analysis also noted that DGA tended to be led by governors of smaller states, with only two of the previous ten chairs coming from the ten most populous states. 41


  1. “About Us.” Democratic Governors Association. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://democraticgovernors.org/about/.
  2. [1] Greenblatt, Alan. “This Year’s Most Vulnerable Incumbent Governors Are Democrats.” Governing. March 14, 2022. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.governing.com/now/this-years-most-vulnerable-incumbent-governors-are-democrats.
  3. “Steve Sisolak.” Ballotpedia. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://ballotpedia.org/Steve_Sisolak.
  4. “Organizational donors.” The Center for Public Integrity. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://publicintegrity.org/politics/organizational-donors/.
  5. Torres-Spelliscy, Ciara. “The $500 Million Question: Are The Democratic and Republican Governors Associations Really State PACs Under Buckley’s Major Purpose Test.” NYU JLPP. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://nyujlpp.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Torres-Spelliscy-The-500-Million-Question.pdf.
  6. Abowd, Paul. “How governor’s associations keep donations secret.” The Center for Public Integrity. April 6, 2013. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://publicintegrity.org/politics/how-governors-associations-keep-donations-secret/.
  7. “Governors associations were top donors in 2014 state-level elections.” PBS. January 28, 2015. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/governors-associations-top-donator-2014-state-level-elections.
  8. Kirkpatrick, David D. “For Donors to Governors’ Associations, Cash Buys a Seat at the Table.” The New York Times. February 24, 2010. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/25/us/politics/25lobby.html.
  9. Starks, Tim. “Democratic Governors Association not hacked, group says.” POLITICO Pro. August 11, 2016. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://subscriber.politicopro.com/article/2016/08/democratic-governors-association-not-hacked-group-says-075814.
  10. “Designed for a fresh start, led by Democrats.” Teal Media. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://tealmedia.com/work/democratic-governors-association/.
  11. “Driven by New Donors, DGA Announces New Record-Breaking Fundraising in First Quarter of 2022.” Democratic Governors Association. April 11, 2022. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://democraticgovernors.org/updates/driven-by-new-donors-dga-announces-record-breaking-fundraising-in-first-quarter-of-2022/.
  12. Forrest, Julia. “DGA and RGA spend big ahead of 2021-2022 gubernatorial elections.” Open Secrets. August 4, 2021. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2021/08/dga-and-rga-spend-big-ahead-of-2021-2022-gubernatorial-elections/.
  13. Duda, Jeremy. “National Democrats say they’re “all in” for Hobbs in Arizona’s race for Governor.” Axios. August 10, 2022. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.axios.com/local/phoenix/2022/08/10/national-democrats-katie-hobbs-arizona-race-governor.
  14. “Katie Hobbs.” Ballotpedia. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://ballotpedia.org/Katie_Hobbs.
  15. [1] Kamisar, Ben. “Data Download: Pritzker gave DGA $24 Million in 2022 as group helped him in primary.” NBC News. July 22, 2022. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.nbcnews.com/meet-the-press/meetthepressblog/data-download-pritzker-gave-dga-24-million-2022-group-helped-primary-rcna39533.
  16. “J.B. Pritzker.” Ballotpedia. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://ballotpedia.org/J.B._Pritzker.
  17. “2023 Gubernatorial Elections.” National Governors Association. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.nga.org/governors/elections/.
  18. “Gov. Phil Murphy Announces DGA’s New Senior Staff.” Democratic Governors Association. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://democraticgovernors.org/updates/gov-phil-murphy-announces-dgas-new-senior-staff/.
  19. White, Jeremy B. “Democratic Governors Association spends $500K to protect Newsom.” POLITICO. May 15, 2021. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.politico.com/states/california/story/2021/05/15/democratic-governors-association-spends-500k-to-protect-newsom-1382516.
  20. [1] Specht, Paul; Anderson, Bryan. “Democratic group led by Cooper spends big to bolster far-right Republicans.” WRAL News. August 4, 2022. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.wral.com/democratic-governors-group-led-by-cooper-spends-big-to-bolster-far-right-republicans/20403753/.
  21. Wilson, Reid. “Democrats spend big in GOP governor primaries.” The Hill. May 19, 2022. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/3494754-democrats-spend-big-in-gop-governor-primaries/
  22. [1] Fain, Tavis. “Cooper: New York Gov. Cuomo ‘should step aside.’” WRAL News. August 4, 2021. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.wral.com/story/cooper-new-york-gov-cuomo-should-step-aside/19809903/.
  23. Schwartz, Brian. “Few Democratic governors speak up on Cuomo sexual harassment allegations.” CNBC. March 3, 2021. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/03/few-democratic-governors-speak-up-on-cuomo-sexual-harassment-allegations.html.
  24. Zito, Salena. “Is Abortion the Reason Democrats Are Pulling Out the Stops in Mississippi’s Race for Governor?” New York Sun. November 2, 2023. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:VKr5ETxE0LEJ:https://www.nysun.com/article/is-abortion-the-reason-democrats-are-pulling-out-the-stops-in-mississippis-race-for-governor&hl=en&gl=us.
  25. Vance, Taylor. “Democratic Governor’s Association announces $750,000 donation to Presley campaign.” Mississippi Today. August 1, 2023. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://mississippitoday.org/2023/08/01/brandon-presley-750000-campaign-donation-democratic-governors-association-dga-mississippi/.
  26. [1] Lisa, Kate. “Democratic Governors Association to fund PAC to give Hochul a boost.” Spectrum Local News. October 31, 2023. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://spectrumlocalnews.com/nys/central-ny/politics/2022/10/31/democratic-governors-assoc–to-fund-pac-to-give-hochul-a-boost-.
  27. Solomon, Joshua. “’American Opportunity’ appears to be directly linked to Democratic Governors Association.” Times Union. March 21, 2023. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.timesunion.com/state/article/american-opportunity-backs-hochul-offers-scant-17849834.php.
  28. Loftus, Tom. “London mayor among Kentuckians giving to Democratic Governors Association.” The Sentinel Echo. August 3, 2023. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.sentinel-echo.com/news/london-mayor-among-kentuckians-giving-to-democratic-governors-association/article_5407a200-321c-11ee-9cb2-4362e5ce4709.html
  29. Jacobson, Louis. “Races for Governor Take Shape Ahead of ’23 Elections in Three States.” US News and World Report. September 22, 2023. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.usnews.com/news/elections/articles/2023-09-22/races-for-governor-take-shape-ahead-of-23-elections-in-three-states.
  30. “DGA Announces Raising Nearly $34 Million in Q1 and Q2 of 2023.” Democratic Governors Association. July 27, 2023. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://democraticgovernors.org/updates/dga-announces-raising-nearly-34-million-in-q1-and-q2-of-2023/.
  31. Loftus, Tom. “London mayor among Kentuckians giving to Democratic Governors Association.” The Sentinel Echo. August 3, 2023. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.sentinel-echo.com/news/london-mayor-among-kentuckians-giving-to-democratic-governors-association/article_5407a200-321c-11ee-9cb2-4362e5ce4709.html.
  32. “Overview.” Democratic Governors Association. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail.php?ein=521304889&cycle=2022.
  33. “Overview.” Democratic Governors Association. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.opensecrets.org/527s/527cmtedetail.php?ein=521304889&cycle=2022.
  34. [1] “Meghan Meehan-Draper.” LinkedIn. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.linkedin.com/in/meghanmeehandraper/.
  35. “DGA Announces New Executive Director.” Democratic Governors Association. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://democraticgovernors.org/updates/dga-announces-new-executive-director-2/.
  36. “Phil Murphy (New Jersey).” Democratic Governors Association. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://ballotpedia.org/Phil_Murphy_(New_Jersey).
  37. “Laura Kelly (Kansas).” Democratic Governors Association. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://ballotpedia.org/Laura_Kelly_(Kansas).
  38. “Gavin Newsom.” Ballotpedia. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://ballotpedia.org/Gavin_Newsom.
  39. “Wes Moore.” Ballotpedia. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://ballotpedia.org/Wes_Moore.
  40. “Josh Shapiro.” Ballotpedia. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://ballotpedia.org/Josh_Shapiro.
  41. Jacobson, Louis. “What Do Governors Get Out of Leading the DGA, NGA and RGA.” Governing. February 10, 2014. Accessed November 2, 2023. https://www.governing.com/archive/gov-what-governors-get-out-chairing-governors-groups.html.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Elisabeth Pearson
    Former Executive Director (2013 - 2018)
  2. Joe Sandler
    Former General Counsel
  3. Marc Elias

Donation Recipients

  1. Win Minnesota (Non-profit)
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