Run for Something, the group formed in the aftermath of the 2016 election to encourage young progressives to get into politics, is rolling out its first 65 endorsements on Friday in a range of races for local offices all over the country.
Candidates for state legislature, city council, town board and even New Jersey county freeholder are getting the stamp of approval. Since Run for Something is deliberately staying out of federal politics to focus on getting people to run for local office, no congressional candidates are on the list.
The endorsements include candidates up in the next few weeks and months, as well as some already running for 2018.
All are between the ages of 19 and 39. Half are women. Half are non-white. All have been through a process created by the group to have local leaders and in-state experts vet their credibility and campaign plans, as well as signing on to Run for Something’s “values criteria”: supporting equal rights for women and LGBT people, favoring abortion rights and backing gun control and climate change policies.
“Our goal is to get people to run good campaigns all across the country, so we’re looking for people who have an idea how to get from A to Z,” said Amanda Litman, the former Hillary Clinton email director who co-founded Run for Something.
Run for Something is hoping the endorsement helps provide a boost of confidence to these first time candidates, as well as a validation for them to bring to other groups they’re seeking endorsements from.
Run for Something was started by Litman and Ross Morales Rocketto on their own, but quickly attracted support from top Democratic operatives and officials. Its board includes Obama alumni Mike Blake (now a Democratic National Committee vice chair), Teddy Goff, Jon Carson and Jen O’Malley Dillon, as well as operatives from EMILY’s List and Aneesa McMillan from Keith Ellison’s operation.
The group’s backing also comes with a promise of more volunteer help on their campaigns from experienced operatives in Run for Something’s network, as well as pointing other interested organizations toward candidates who’ve already been reviewed.
“We’re able to help them find races that they wouldn’t have otherwise paid attention to,” Litman said.
Seven of the 65 endorsed candidates are running for state legislature in Virginia in November, and to back them financially, Run for Something has set up a state PAC that it says has so far raised in the five figures. That will be a test-run for potentially setting up similar PACs elsewhere around the country.