Are you furious with Donald Trump for separating immigrant children from their parents, trying to defund Planned Parenthood, build a wall and much more? Are you so furious you want to run for political office?
If you are ready to do more than join protest marches and tweet and want to join the blue wave of legislators that were first swept into legislative offices across the country in 2018, then meet someone who could help you do that – Amanda Litman.
Litman launched the organization, Run for Something, with co-founder Ross Morales Rocketto, in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton‘s defeat to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election. Litman, 29, had been the email director, for “Hillary for America,” Clinton’s email fundraising campaign effort which raised $185 million and recruited half a million volunteers for the presidential candidate.
When the votes came in on the night of November 8th, 2016, Litman was devastated. “I was depressed, heartbroken,” she tells HollywoodLife in an EXCLUSIVE interview. She cried so hard she threw up, she also told the Los Angeles Times. But Litman pulled herself together within a couple of weeks, propelled by friends who were so upset by Trump’s victory that they were already thinking about running for office themselves. “Hey, you’ve worked in politics. I want to run for office. What do I do?” was a typical question she heard. The problem for her was that she, “didn’t have a good answer for them.”
Fortunately, it didn’t take too long before Litman became convinced that she could create an organization — Run for Something — that would recruit a whole new pool of candidates for political office that was younger, more diverse and progressive. She wanted to open the door to people who thought they were too young, and didn’t have the money or know how yet to run.
“It was clear that voters were looking to be inspired by a candidate, or to feel connected to a candidate and that we had to broaden who those candidates were,” Litman explained to HollywoodLife. “And as we looked ahead to four years of the Trump administration — if the federal government wasn’t going to be fighting for us, local governments could… and could be a bulwark against some of the worst parts of his federal policies. Why not fill local governments with young, exciting, progressives who cared?
Litman and co-rounder Ross Morales Rocketto were also well aware that in the President Obama years, democrats had lost over 900 seats across the country in state legislatures and governorships. “We had seen the ramifications of this in anti-abortion and anti-teachers bills and in massive voter suppression laws and efforts.
Fast forward to today and Run For Something has raised 2 and a half millions dollars, has a staff of 16 and helped elect over 200 candidates into legislative positions across the country in the 2018 midterms.
Here’s what Run For Something does: If you have a burning interest in making a difference by running for political office, simply sign up on Runforsomething.net, using their online form. You will be contacted within a few days to join a conference call and if you move forward, one of the organizations’ trained staff, “will walk you through every step of the process — from what legislative offices are available to you, to what info and skills you need to run, how to raise money and more,” says Litman.
Before the midterms, Run For Something had 20,000 people who initially said they wanted to run for office. Her team whittled that group down to about 650 ‘superstars’ who they threw most of their resources behind and about 200 got elected. “We’re looking for people who are diverse, progressive and are willing to work hard, knock on doors and talk to people one on one,” she explains.
Run For Something’s big wins include 28 year-old Lina Hidalgo, originally a Colombian immigrant, who was elected to be the Harris County judge — a Texas county which includes Houston and has a massive budget. The organization also helped elect four new democratic members into the New York State Senate, turning it blue for the first time in decades.
Litman and Morales are solely focused on recruiting political candidates at the state legislative level and below — “It’s where real governing makes a difference in people’s lives. And if you’re a young person (yes, you) running for office for the first time, you can actually win a local office. Campaigns aren’t that expensive and the numbers of voters you have to talk to, political waters you have to navigate, are manageable enough that you can truly win if you are willing to work hard,” Litman explains. Sometimes if you run for a local office, you might not even have an opposing candidate and if you’re uncontested, you’ll automatically win.
Are you psyched yet? If so, Litman urges you to sign up on the Run For Something site, be ready for your campaign to be hard, to be scary and to take up all of your time outside of your job. But she and her team will be there to help.
And listen, if you aren’t ready to run but you want to throw your support behind helping Run For Something grow and be able to recruit and train more candidates, you can also sign up to volunteer to help them, or you can chip in and donate. There are 2019 municipal state elections around the corner and Run For Something plans to have candidates ready all across the country in 2020 — will you be one of them?