Why One PAC Is Pushing Young Virginians To ‘Run For Something’

Run For Something is recruiting Millennials but it's not the first PAC to do so.

People wait in line to cast their ballots. — REUTERS
May 03, 2017 at 2:51 PM ET

Almost six months to the day that Donald Trump stunned the world to become the 45th president of the United States, a political action committee co-founded by the former email director for Hillary Clinton announced its support for candidates that include an Army combat veteran, a middle-school teacher, an insurance underwriter and a 25-year-old woman of Muslim and Jewish descent. The hope is that this group of unlikely, first-time candidates can make waves and compete in local races in Virginia.

Run for Something, a political action committee founded by Clinton disciple Amanda Litman and political consultant Ross Morales Rocketto in hope of recruiting “passionate youngsters who will advocate for progressive values” during the Trump administration, declared its support on Wednesday for four candidates running in Virginia’s state legislative races. The announcement comes ahead of the state’s Democratic primary for local races on June 13.

As Litman told Forbes in February, the PAC’s mission to mentor, support and fund candidates under 35 has united liberals in the wake of the president’s win in November.

“It’s one of the few missions that has united people across the progressive landscape,” she told Forbes. “Bernie folks, Hillary folks, Obama folks, labor people, it’s really hard to disagree that this is a task that needs to be done.”

With Virginia being “one of the few states to have competitive state legislative races in 2017,” the PAC explained, it made sense for Run for Something to push forward in the Old Dominion State. As Vocativ noted in March, there are other efforts underway by state PACs in Virginia to get progressives on the ballot. Virginia, which has a Democratic governor and went to Clinton in November, has had a Republican majority legislature for nearly two decades. For years, many of the state’s local races have gone uncontested, leading to renewed interest for the state’s 2017 elections. The four candidates are running in Virginia districts that stretch from Arlington down to Virginia Beach.

“All the ‘party-building’ you might see people chatting about on Twitter? Our candidates are actually doing it,” the PAC wrote in a post on Medium. “They’re taking the big messages and translating them for people when they knock doors and make calls. That’s what matters.”

Since it launched earlier this year, Run for Something said it has registered more than 9,100 people trying to run for office and raised $130,000 from almost 4,800 contributions.

Even with the optimism on the early returns, it remains uncertain whether Run for Something’s candidates will succeed. They are not the first PAC to focus on recruiting millennial to political office, and likely won’t be the last. Launched last year, MillennialPAC says it helped get two out of its three candidates elected in Minnesota state elections. On the national scale, LaunchProgress, which was founded in 2014, has gotten candidates successfully elected, and reelected, in state and municipal elections in Michigan, Ohio and North Carolina, all states won by Trump in 2016.