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Run for something


I stumbled across something the other day you might be interested in.

It’s a website called “Run For Something.” My first thought at seeing those words had nothing to do with politics or campaigning for office. But, that’s exactly what it is.

With oversized type on the website, lots of colors, pictures of staff and successful campaigners, it’s filled with lots of information and sort of a kick to read. And, there’s a good deal to read.

“Run For Something” (RFS) has been around for a few years and has had some real successes. More than 55% of women backed by RFS won various offices from dog catcher to Congress in recent elections. And, 50% of the winners were people of color.

Here’s something else you probably don’t know. In races run in the last two national election cycles, IFS has helped flip seats in 20 states. Not bad for a group of young folks most of us have never heard of.

The organization is PROGRESSIVE. Large type! The whole reason for its being is to help more progressive – and therefore, mostly Democrat – folks into public office. An occasional Republican is supported but the key word is still “progressive.”

Some 8-thousand volunteers do most of the work with candidates. About 70% of applicants are under age 40, running for the first or second time. All applicants have one-on-one phone talks in which RFS workers get facts about who wants to run, for what and experience – if any.

There are four basic tenets candidates must meet in the process: be progressive, be rooted in their communities, be willing to work hard campaigning and are interesting and compelling to talk to. Ratings on those four points come from volunteers who have had in-depth conversations with many applicants.

There is a winnowing process to the point that RFS takes what it believes will be winners under the organizational “wing” and begins things. Using (un)social media heavily, there is constant moral and other support. They’re offered tactics that’ve been proven successful in other races. They get weekly open-ended calls from RFS strategists who’ve worked on previous campaigns.

If money is a problem – as it often is – RFS can help. In the 2020 campaign, RFS spent more than two-and-a-half-million dollars in hundreds of races.

Part of that help comes from RFS working partners and direct linkage with newer progressive organizations like Emily’s List, Campaign America, Voto Latino, Crowd Pac, Planned Parenthood and the Democratic Senate Campaign fund. There are regional fund-raising promotions. RFS is also the beneficiary of sizeable donations from individuals and carefully selected business partners.

Direct candidate support is also available in tactics, strategy, media relations, fund raising and contact with previously successful candidates. There are also regional directors with campaign experience who can be called upon for advice.

Feedback from winners is very positive with some doing endorsements on the RFS website.

The “dog-catcher-to-Congress” label is very true. RFS has been the key element to success in judicial races, legislative contests, city council, county commissions, congressional and numerous other campaigns. No matter what office you want to run for, “Run For Something” should be the first call you make.

Though it’s not specifically itemized on the RFS website, it’s obvious the group wants to make sure that any ballot – anywhere – doesn’t have an uncontested race on it. As we’ve seen so often in politics – especially at the national level – gaining access to one office can lead to a subsequent successful step to another.

We’ve also seen what can happen if there is an uncontested race. We’ve got a Marjorie Taylor Greene to deal with in Congress because no one would fill the open seat on a Democrat ballot.

Yes, “Run For Something” is a heavily Democrat-oriented group. And, yes, they tilt toward progressive minded individuals. And, yes, the organization of largely young people, out “to change the world.” But, RFS has experience winning a large variety of political contests. It has shown itself to be an organization to be reckoned with in city, county, state and national contests. It’s shown it can make a difference where it counts – the ballot box.

When you’ve got some time on your hands one of these days, give the “Run For Something” website a look-see. Even if you don’t want to be a candidate for something, you might know someone with an itch. The “Run For Something” site may be able to scratch that itch.

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