Simon & Schuster Speakers Bureau: Author News
'You Have to Do Something.' Meet the 27-Year-Old Woman Teaching Millennials How to Run For Office

AmandaLitman

Oct 10, 2017

By Amanda Litman,

Election Night was rough for Amanda Litman. As email director for Hillary Clinton's campaign, she remembers hearing senior staff reassure the team that their Midwestern firewall would hold, then watching Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania slowly turn red. She remembers Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta telling staff that they would fight until every vote is counted, then getting an alert that Clinton had called Trump to concede. The whole evening was a "nightmare," Litman says.

A few days later, something lifted Litman out of her funk: an old friend sent her a Facebook message, saying she was considering running for Chicago's city council to fix the city's failing schools. "She was like, 'Who do I ask for help?'" Litman recalls. "I didn't have an answer." The Cook County Democratic Party likely wouldn't invest in a rookie candidate. National political organizations wouldn't care. Organizations like Emily's List, which support progressive women running for office, typically don't invest in candidates running low-level local races.

Litman, 27, saw an opportunity. She began asking political friends whether any organizations supported young people who wanted to run for local office. "If it doesn't exist, it must be hard," she reasoned. She connected with Ross Morales Rocketto, a political operative married to one of Litman's friends from the Clinton campaign, who had been toying with a similar idea for years. Together, Litman and Rocketto built Run For Something, an organization dedicated to funding and supporting progressive millennial candidates running for local office.

The new group launched on Inauguration Day. During its first week, 100 potential candidates reached out. Over the next nine months, that number has swelled to nearly 11,000 young first-time candidates. (The group provides support to about 75% of candidates who ask.) So far Run For Something has raised some $400,000 from roughly 5,000 donors, including Clinton's Onward Together PAC. It has partnered with the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee to try to turn state legislatures blue. And on Oct. 2, Litman published a book, Run For Something, essentially a how-to manual for young people to run for local office.

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