Political leadership and involvement is not reserved for the elite.
You are a principled, qualified, hard-working business and/or community leader; but maybe you never imagined yourself in politics. Neither had many of the 15 Democrats newly elected to the Virginia House of Delegates last year!
Whether you’re considering your first race, or gearing up for a repeat run, we’re here to help you access the tools, best practices and strategies needed to run an impactful campaign. Be sure to sign up so we can get to know you and learn how best to support your candidacy.
Didn’t major in political science? That’s okay! It takes a wide range of professional skills to make a campaign succeed, and you may have just the right experience to take a team to the next level. Take advantage of these training resources to see how your skills translate to the political sphere. Please send us your resume when you sign up to be considered for upcoming campaign positions.
First off- thank you! It takes a village to run for office, and no campaign would be possible without dedicated people like you rolling up their sleeves and heading to the trenches. Use these training resources to learn what goes on behind the scenes, and let us help you bring your community involvement to the next level. Together, we can continue to turn passion into progress!
Through a variety of programs – for high school and college leaders to first-time political candidates and influential business and community leaders – the Sorensen Institute is an effective force for restoring public confidence in our political system.
The 2019 Candidate Training Program provides free training for Democrats running at every level of office, from school board to Congress, as well as people who want to work behind the scenes to help Democrats win elections.
Run For Something
A Real-Talk Guide to Fixing the System Yourself
By Amanda Litman
Foreword by: Hillary Rodham Clinton
From the publisher: From the email marketing director of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the co-founder of Run for Something comes an essential and inspiring guide that encourages and educates young progressives to run for local office, complete with contributions from elected officials and political operatives.
Winning Your Election the Wellstone Way
A Comprehensive Guide for Candidates and Campaign Workers
By Jeff Blodgett and Bill Lofy
Winning Your Election the Wellstone Way is based on the work of Wellstone Action, a leading-edge progressive training center that has instructed thousands of political activists, campaign managers, and volunteers, of whom more than two hundred have gone on to run for office and win. Jeff Blodgett and Bill Lofy analyze the crucial lessons learned from many successful (and several losing) campaigns and demystifies what it takes to run for-and win-a political seat.
Available in paperback, audio or pdf download.
How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World- and How to Make It Work for You
By Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms
From the website: Two visionary thinkers take you on a whirlwind tour of the 21st century, revealing how “new power” is reshaping politics, business and society – and how understanding how it works could change your life.
Why do some leap ahead while others fall behind in our chaotic, connected age? In New Power, Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms confront the biggest stories of our time—the rise of mega-platforms like Facebook and Uber; the out-of-nowhere victories of Trump and Obama; the unexpected emergence of movements like #MeToo—and reveal what’s really behind them: the rise of “new power.”
Campaign Boot Camp 2.0
A Seven Step Guide to Winning
By Christine Pelosi
Christine Pelosi presents leadership lessons from the campaign trail from a diverse array of over forty public figures, lending advice for anyone who wants to run for office, advocate for a cause, or win a public policy issue. This book draws from her leadership “boot camps” conducted in over thirty American states and in three foreign countries, working with thousands of volunteers and dozens of successful candidates for office from city council to US congress.
If you are a democrat considering a run for elected office, or a professional considering campaign career opportunities, we want to get to know you.
“Every day, it never fails, I encounter people who tell me they voted for me. Sometimes we never know the impact we’ve made until we take a step back and see. It takes courage, time and patience to run for office. With the right team and the right mindset, it’s all worth it!”
– Josh Cole, Pastor, 2017 Candidate
Virginia Department of Elections
Virginia has different requirements, forms and deadlines for each elected office. Find out what steps you will need to take to get your name on the ballot for your race.
Here is a link to a step by step guide to running for Virginia House of Delegates, which was published in 2017. If you are interested in running for state legislature in 2019, this guide will help you know what to anticipate, even though the specific filing dates are from last year. The 2019 dates and deadlines have not yet been made publicly available.
How to Run for Office in Virginia
- Reach out to your local Democratic committee chair(s). Find out what nomination processes they need you to complete, and if you will have a primary.
- Get a P.O. box to use for campaign communications.
- Establish a campaign committee and familiarize yourself with the summary of campaign finance laws and policies in VA.
- Complete a Statement of Organization.
- Acquire an EIN for the committee, which is quickly done online.
- Setup a bank account (ideally at a local credit union)
- Complete a Declaration of Candidacy. This form must be signed by either a Notary or two witnesses who are registered to vote in your district.
- Hire a campaign manager
- Establish a campaign website and email address
- Take professional photos, including headshots
- Announce your candidacy with local media.
This list is not 100% exhaustive. Be sure to follow all requirements of the Virginia Department of Elections.