How Run for Something helps candidates
Since launching in January 2017, Run for Something has recruited 45,000+ young people across all 50 states who want to run for local office.
We provide a safety net for new and exciting progressive candidates — at all stages of their journey — to help them run efficient, grassroots & voter-contact driven campaigns and not feel alone in the process.
Don’t just take our word for it. Hear about how we help directly from Run for Something candidates, partners, mentors, and volunteers.
Judge Elaissia Sears, Arizona
Hello, internet! This is Elaissia Sears, Justice of the Peace over in Mesa, Arizona. Last year, I was elected as the youngest elected official, and also the youngest judge in Arizona. That was all thanks to the support of people like Najaah Daniels. She was my Regional Director for Run for Something, and she would literally come down to Arizona and meet with me, whether it was for fundraising, or just having a hard time with being a millennial, being a first-time candidate, and not having the support that older and more seasoned people have when it comes to running elections.
So, I’m super grateful and I definitely say I would recommend, reach out to Run for Something, see how they can help you, and if you want to run for office, I promise you, as long as you put your mind to it, you can do it. Good luck!
JB Smiley, Jr., Tennessee
Hello, I’m JB Smiley, Jr., candidate, no scratch that, Councilman-elect for Memphis City Council Super District 8, position 1. I just wanted to take a brief moment to speak with you all about the invaluable resource that is Run for Something.
Candidates like myself, young and progressive, struggle, often times, to raise money, struggle to find locations or places they can go to get the resources or information that they need to run a successful campaign. Run for Something is a one-stop shop.
For me, at the very beginning of my campaign, I was able to speak to a coach who could give advice on putting together a team and making sure we had a winning strategy going forward, Ms. Shenika Carter in Colorado. But, the closer it came to early voting, election day, I needed some on-the-ground support, and the Regional Director Tariq Smith came down to Memphis, Tennessee, knocked on doors, sat around the campaign table and enjoyed Memphis’ amazing barbeque, but also talked campaign strategy, making sure we were focused going into election day.
Out of that conversation, we knew that we needed to focus on areas where there was high voter turn-out, and areas that were more likely to vote for me. You know, that proved to be invaluable advice because we got the win on election day.
So, I’m just grateful for Run for Something and I hope that you too will take advantage of what Run for Something is offering. But, more importantly, if you’re passionate about an issue, if you believe that you are able to be a part of that positive change, run for office.
Sarah Ullman, California
Hi, this is Sarah with One Vote At A Time. We make free campaign videos for candidates that believe in gun safety legislation, and we’re really proud to be partners with Run for Something. So, my team is a really small team, and Run for Something helps us by referring candidates to us. We focus on serving candidates that wouldn’t otherwise have access to a really beautifully produced, powerful campaign video.
Run for Something always comes through with the best people! They’re vetted and we know that we can trust their recommendations, and honestly they make our jobs a lot easier, because of the time that they spend vetting their candidates, we know that their word goes a long way for us. So, we’re really honored to be in the family, and we think that you should join the Run for Something family, too. Thanks!
Judge Lina Hidalgo, Texas
My name is Lina Hidalgo and I’m the County Judge, the name we give to the County Executive in Harris County, Texas, home to Houston. Starting out at Run for Something was a seed. When the powers that be didn’t support me, Run for Something was there as one of our earliest endorsements, helping connect me with resources, connect us with national press attention, and everything we needed to start out a strong campaign.
Ross Morales Rocketto was a mentor to me in the toughest times of the campaign. When we needed help finding staff, as we prepared for debates, when we approached the primary and were making key strategic decisions, he helped advise me, made sure he connected me with experts we needed, and with the advice we needed that kept the best interests of the campaign in mind.
Run for Something also connected me with One Vote At A Time, a group of women filmmakers that helped make top-tier campaign videos for candidates like me across the country. They made a beautiful, powerful that we used in ads, on TV, and on social media. They were supporting gun-sense candidates. And, just last week, we passed the most comprehensive gun safety reforms we could enact here in Harris County. It’s incumbent on us to build a stronger democracy, and we do that by running for office, one person at a time, with support for groups like Run for Something.
Rep. Anna Eskamani, Florida
Hi, this is Representative Anna V. Eskamani, proudly serving District 47 in the Florida House, here in the sunshine state. I am so grateful for Run for Something. They were one of the first organizations to endorse us, which truly not only meant a lot as a young, first time candidate, but it also helped propel us into the national spotlight. We received endorsements from Flippable, People for the American Way, and President Barack Obama.
It was Run for Something that really helped start that momentum. I’m really grateful to co-founders Amanda and Ross, who have been by my side from day one. As we continue on this path to running for office again, and building collective power across the state, it means so much knowing that Run for Something is here, and that I will always be part of the Run for Something family.
Kelly O’Donnell, New York
Hi, my name is Kelly and I have been a Run for Something volunteer since November 2017, and I now work for Run for Something endorsed candidate and now New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes.
When I first started volunteering with Run For Something as a candidate researcher, I immediately realized I wanted to work for a campaign in my area, but I didn’t know how to. I’d never worked on a campaign before. I’d worked in theater, and I didn’t know how the work I was doing as a stage manager was going to make a campaign want to hire me. So, to figure it out, I reached out to Run for Something’s Director of Community, who, very graciously, got on the phone with me, answered all of my questions, and after hearing a little bit about what I did in theater, she was able to say to me: “You know, I think you would be a pretty good field organizer. You should reach out to a campaign and tell them that you want to organize for them.”
Well, that is exactly what I did. I found the nearest Run for Something endorsed candidate in my neighborhood. He was running for State Senate in my backyard in Brooklyn. I found Andrew Gounardes’ State Senate campaign website, sent him a message saying I’d love to volunteer, started volunteering, and immediately fell in love with the work of campaigning.
I felt like I was living in the West Wing every day. It was just the dream. I immediately knew that this was what I had been looking for in a career. So, I joined the campaign as a volunteer, soon became the campaign’s field director, and, in November of 2018, we were successful. We took office in the New York State Senate in January 2019, where we have continued our wonderful relationship with Run For Something in supporting, recruiting, and inspiring candidates who are hoping to run for office, thinking of running for office, so that hopefully they can become the next class of Run for Something endorsed candidates who will then go on to become the next class on New York State lawmakers.
I don’t know, personally, where my career in state government is going to go, but I can say with certainty that it started with Run for Something. I joined as a volunteer, when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my next career steps, and I was immediately inspired, empowered, and supported by the staff. It was the best decision I could have made at that time. So, my best advice: take the plunge, sign up, volunteer for Run for Something. You never know where it’s going to take you.
Jennifer Hennings, California
Hi, I’m Jennifer Hennings. My role as a Run for Something public speaking mentor is to help you figure out, how do you tell your story as a candidate? How do you take public speaking and make it your superpower, even if you’re feeling nervous?
So, what does this actually look like? Well, one of the candidates I worked with recently wanted to know what she should say when she was knocking on doors and meeting people in her district for the first time. So, we worked together to craft a thirty second, let’s call it a “mini stump speech” and a sixty second “mini stump speech,” that she could use to engage people in conversation and connect with them right off the bat, from that very first hello.
One of the other candidates I’m working with wanted to craft a longer stump speech for a big kick-off event, a banquet hall with all his supporters, that sort of thing. So, we’ve been working together both on the content and the delivery of that speech, so he can figure out how he tells the story of who he is, why he’s running, what he’s accomplished for his community, and why he’s the very best person to represent his district.
So, those are a few of the things we can work on together. We can also talk about skills like, how do you answer tough questions from somebody who may not agree with you?
I am so happy to be part of Run for Something. I had great conversations, first with Leslie, the Director of Community, and then with Ross, one of the co-founders, and they helped me see that this is an amazing opportunity to help take my twenty years as a public speaking coach, my professional expertise, and marry it with my political values. Because I’ve been wondering these past few years, how can I make a difference? How can I help the next generation of progressive politicians get into office and change the world? So, I’m so excited to be able to help in this way. So, I hope you will consider running for something, knowing that we, as the mentors, we have got your back, and we are going to help you get there.
Hadiya Afzal, Illinois
Hi, everyone! My name’s Hadiya Afzal. I ran for the DuPage County Board, in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in the election cycle of 2018. Run for Something endorsed us pretty early in our race, after the primary. Their endorsement helped make a huge impact right off the bat. They helped us get great media attention, with outlets like Good Work, and then a bigger piece by the Huffington Post, which later led to more profiles by news outlets like Mother Jones, CNN, and Teen Vogue.
The support from their staff was wonderful throughout the campaign as well. The Regional Director, Amanda Clarke made a huge difference in the kind of support we felt we had from the organization. Even after the campaign ended, we’d been reached out to for alumni support, mentor stuff, and it’s just been truly wonderful. Run for Something helped put our race in the national conversation, which we never thought would happen for a local race like ours. I couldn’t be more grateful for all of their work.
Board of Education member Tyler Murphy, Kentucky
Hello, my name is Tyler Murphy and I’m a public school teacher. I proudly represent Fayette County, that’s Lexington, Kentucky, on the Board of Education here. I was elected in November of 2018, much with the help and support of Run for Something.
I am grateful not just for Run for Something’s endorsement, but also for the support and encouragement they provided me along the way. That includes Amanda, our Regional Field Director coming down to Lexington and meeting with me in the early stages of the campaign, connecting me with vendors and a really talented campaign staff, an exceptional graphic and web design team, and just folks to talk to, mentors and confidants to be sounding boards, and bounce ideas off of, and help us get through the campaign, or deal with some issues that arose during the campaign. So, I cannot express enough gratitude to that team.
As I remind my students in class, so much of the things that affect our daily life happen at the local level of government, and that’s why I truly appreciate the work that Run for Something is doing because they’re connecting folks of my generation with these positions that are truly impacting our communities.
So, Run for Something, thank you for the work that you’re doing. If you are someone that’s thinking about running for office, then I encourage you to talk to Run for Something, talk to their staff, get involved, and get engaged, and make a difference in your community. Thank you.
Mayor Pro Tem Priya Bhat Patel, California
Hi everyone my name is Priya Bhat Patel, and I serve as the Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Carlsbad, where I grew up and I’m so lucky to serve. I’m here to tell you about how Run for Something was very instrumental in making my campaign successful.
From the get-go, I was able to count on them for support, in terms of how to actually run a grassroots campaign. Being a first-time candidate, it was something that I really relied on them heavily for. The folks that I was able to rely on were Amanda and Ross, who are both co-founders of Run for Something; Naajah, who is the Regional Director; Ben, the Alumni Manager; Leslie the Director of Community; and Lesley, who is the Director of Communications.
They all did an amazing job of making sure I was connected to the right people at the right time, and making sure that we continue to move forward to make progress towards a successful campaign.
One of the things that I really enjoy about Run for Something is that they provide the resources that anyone, regardless of where you’re at in terms of your life, will need to run a successful campaign, and make sure that you’re doing it at a very low cost or for free — which is really awesome for small campaigns like myself, since I was running for City Council.
I’m really looking forward to continuing to work with Run for Something as a mentor, hopefully in the future. I’ve already done that a couple of times with a few candidates, and I’m really hoping to see quite a few more people step up to make sure that we’re actually supporting our progressive values — not only here in California, but across the country. I really hope that you’ll consider running for something and I look forward to seeing you shine!