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.

The Future Is Here

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

Arkansas
Andrew Collins

Arizona
Alma Hernández
Andrés Cano
Brian Garcia
Consuelo Hernández
Elaissia Sears
Leila Counts
Lindsay Love

California
Alex Brown
Andrea Marr
Arlis Reynolds
Eddie Flores
Ellen Kamei
Eric Joyce
Gloria Soto
Holland White
Jenny Fitzgerald
Jon Wizard
Katie Clark
Kristiina Arrasmith
Lorena Chavez
Rachelanne Vander Warf
Rigel Robinson

Colorado
Beth Melton
Gary Turco
George Stern
Julie Gonzales
Quentin “Q” Phipps
Rochelle Galindo
Will Haskell
Yadira Caraveo

Delaware
Elizabeth Lockman

Florida
Anna Eskamani
Cindy Polo
Dotie Joseph
Fentrice Driskell
Joshua Simmons
Michael Joseph

Georgia
Ben Ku
Beth Moore
Charisse Davis
Everton Blair Jr.
Jasmine Clark
Matthew Wilson

Hawaii
Luke Evslin

Iowa
Lindsay James
Zach Wahls

Illinois
Amanda Koch
Ashley Selmon
Bob Morgan
Daniel Didech
Kevin Morrison
Pranjal Vachaspati
Rachel Ventura

Indiana
Ilana Stonebraker
J.D. Ford
Joe Canarecci

Kansas
Brandon Woodward
Josie Raymond
Misty Cavanaugh
Tyler Murphy

Massachusetts
Becca Rausch
David LeBoeuf
Kristen Reed
Maria Robinson
Tram Nguyen

Maryland
Andrew Friedson
Emily Shetty
Lesley Lopez
Vaughn Stewart

Maine
Chloe Maxmin

Michigan
Jordan Acker
Kyra Harris Bolden
Laurie Pohutsky
Mallory McMorrow
Mari Manoogian
Meredith Place
Stephen Wooden

Minnesota
Alice Mann
Carlie Kotyza-Witthuhn
Dave Hutchinson
Heather Edelson
Josh Pauly

Missouri
Brianna Lennon
Ian Mackey
Keri Ingle
Kevin Windham
Matt Sain

Montana
Barbara Bessette

North Carolina
Ashton Clemmons
Mujtaba Mohammed
Sydney Batch
Wesley Harris

Nebraska
Eric Williams
Megan Hunt

New Hampshire
Allison Nutting-Wong
Cassandra Levesque
Cole Riel
Garrett Muscatel
Greg Indruk
Iz Piedra
Jacqueline Chretien 
Jon Morgan
Matt Wilhelm
Manny Espitia
Megan Murray
Tom Loughman
Willis Griffith

New Jersey
Gerald Reiner
James Whelan
Joe Signorello

New Mexico
Andrea Romero

Nevada
Howard Watts
Kalie Work
Selena Torres

New York
Alessandra Biaggi
Andrew Gounardes
Jessica Ramos
Zellnor Myrie

Ohio
Phil Robinson

Oklahoma
Carrie Blumert
Merleyn Bell

Pennsylvania
Jennifer O’Mara
Katie Muth
Kyle Mullins
Lindsey Williams
Liz Hanbidge
Malcolm Kenyatta
Sara Innamorato

Rhode Island
Karen Alzate

South Carolina
JA Moore
Kambrell Garvin

Tennessee
Katrina Robinson

Texas
Gina Calanni
Cynthia Marie Chapa
Erin Zwiener
Gina Calanni
James Talarico
Jessica Gonzalez
John Bucy III
KT Musselman
Lina Hidalgo
Monique Diaz
Sedrick Walker
Stephanie Gharakhanian

Virginia
Canek Aguirre
Chris Suarez
Elizabeth Bennett-Parker
Mo Seifeldein

Vermont
Lucy Rogers

Wisconsin
Greta Neubauer

West Virginia
Sammi Brown

Wyoming
Brian Harrington