This OTYCD post originally appeared in November 2017. We’re rerunning it now so you can pour your post-election energy into organizations that will help Democrats win off-year elections and the 2022 midterms.
Support Run for Something, an organization that recruits people who are under the age of 35 to run for elected office.
Look at Congress and an inescapable fact jumps out at you. Most of the members–the good ones and the bad ones–are on the old side. Some are downright elderly. To be fair, age is not, in and of itself, a barrier to holding elected office, nor should it be. But history shows that Congressfolks are all too happy to coast on their momentum as incumbents long after they’ve lost their drive to effectively serve their constituents.
Run For Something launched on Inauguration Day 2017. It’s one of many progressive organization that sprung up in the wake of the November 2016 election. Its purpose is to recruit young talent–people aged 35 and younger–to run for elected office as state legislators, mayors, city councilors, and the like. It is dedicated to helping more young people get on the ballot generally, and it hopes to build a progressive farm team of left-leaning political talent.
The organization talks to everyone who fits the profile and expresses interest. It liaises with similar organizations, such as EMILY’s List, She Should Run, Emerge, the Latino Victory Project, and others. In select cases, it furnishes money and staff.
Since we wrote and queued this post, Run For Something proved itself in spectacular fashion on November 8, 2017. It ran 72 candidates in 14 states for state and local races across the country, and 32 of those candidates won. (That number might rise to 34 once recounts in two Virginia House of Delegates races are completed.)
Those neophyte candidates backed by Run For Something notched a success rate of more than 40 percent, when 10 percent is far more typical.
Its winners included Danica Roem, the transgender woman who defeated a longterm incumbent and an avowed homophobe for a Virginia legislature, and Chris Hurst, a former journalist whose journalist girlfriend was killed live, on-air, by a deranged, armed man. He ran for a Virginia state seat on a gun safety platform and beat a three-time incumbent who was backed by the NRA.
Run For Something also supported Ashley Bennett, who got angry when a representative of hers in Atlantic City, N.J., mocked attendees of the Women’s March by wondering if the protest would end in time for them to come home and cook dinner. She ran for his Atlantic County board seat and wrested it away from him.
Update, November 2020: Run For Something has recruited more than 50,000 young candidates for local offices across America.
During the last four years, the organization more than 400 candidates, including 106 during the November 2020 elections. You can expect that number to rise.
Run For Something is changing the complexion of elected office in America as well. Nearly two thirds of the 2020 victors are women; two-thirds are nonwhite (yes, there is overlap between those groups); and a fifth identify as LGBTQ.
Run For Something is doing powerful work at the most granular level of government–school committees, planning boards, and the like–spotting young, promising talents and building a strong, progressive farm team from which tomorrow’s political stars will come. It deserves your support. And if you’re in its age bracket and you’re thinking about running for office? It needs you, dammit.
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Learn about the current slate of Run For Something candidates:
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