Diversifying the Bench: A Recap From 2018 Midterms
On November 6, 418 Run for Something endorsed candidates ran for state and local office in 46 states. These young progressives have dedicated the last year to their campaigns, working day and night to become elected officials and shake up the status quo in their local communities. Real talk: our candidates — all 418 of them — have busted their asses to ensure that the people in their neighborhoods, municipalities, and districts have the representation they deserved.
And their hard work paid off.
We’ve seen extraordinary wins across the country: first-time candidates beat out long-time incumbents; state legislatures that were red are now blue; women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ candidates now have a seat at the table (and in office). Today, we can comfortably say that hundreds of state legislatures have fewer old white men manning the helm, with more badass women, queer individuals, and Black and Brown folks leading us into a progressive future.
November 6, 2018 is just the beginning for Run for Something and our newly elected officials. But more importantly it is the first step in diversifying our political body on all levels. We’re not trying to toot our own horn, but here are a few Run for Something stats since launching in 2017:
- 188 candidates have been elected to state and local office, 152 in 2018 alone.
- 55% of the candidates elected are women.
- 47% of the candidates elected are people of Color.
- 16% of the candidates elected are LGBTQ.
This is not a coincidence. When Run for Something began, we made a conscious decision to throw the old rules out the window. No more talk about which candidate would raise the most money or was the most “commercially viable.” We weren’t going to ask potential candidates to change their hair, cover their tattoos, or assimilate. We wanted candidates who authentically represented their communities, who cared about the everyday issues of their constituents, and were willing to put in the work.
In focusing on “non-traditional candidates” (yeah, apparently that’s a thing), we were introduced to a bevy of badass leaders who were not only capable of leading, but had the ability to change the face of local politics. For example, J.A. Moore, a young man who decided to get involved in local politics after a racially motivated tragedy irrevocably altered his life. Or Lina Hidalgo, a 27-year old Colombian immigrant who worked in advocacy and had no prior experience in electoral politics.
But things change. Now J.A. Moore is a member of the South Carolina State House, with the ability to create legislation that protects communities of color. Lina Hidalgo sits in one of the highest judicial seats in Texas, where her lived truth and experiences will inevitably help others struggling to find equal treatment under an inherently unequal system. This is the real change we need to see in the world.
We’re not done and neither are you. We need more Black women, more trans candidates, more scientists, more parents, more everything to ensure that we are fighting against regressive policies that threaten to pull us all under. Though we haven’t wrapped up midterms (some states are still counting votes, y’all), we are already looking towards 2019 and beyond.
So, let’s raise a toast to our amazing winners from midterms 2018 and keep an eye out for the next crop of eager, young progressives who will inevitably follow in their footsteps.
Midterm 2018: Run For Something Winners
Rachelanne Vander Warf
Quentin “Q” Phipps
Everton Blair Jr.
Kyra Harris Bolden
Cynthia Marie Chapa
John Bucy III