Weinberg alumna Amanda Litman talks helping young progressives run for office


Courtesy of Amanda Litman

Weinberg alumna Amanda Litman co-founded the Democratic recruitment group Run for Something.

Isabelle Sarraf, Assistant Campus Editor

Amanda Litman (Weinberg‘12) was fed up with the outcome of state elections across the United States after 40 percent of state legislative races in 2016 ran uncontested.

Litman founded Run for Something, a company that recruits and supports young progressives hoping to run for office, on the day of President Trump’s inauguration. Since then, 48,000 young people have signed up to seek assistance in running for local elections, such as state legislatures, city councils, school boards and mayors.

Litman spoke about her journey from Northwestern to becoming the co-founder and executive director of her own company.

This interview has been edited and condensed for brevity and clarity.

The Daily: Where did you go directly after graduating from Northwestern?

Amanda Litman: I have worked exclusively in political campaigns my entire career. I started working for Barack Obama when I was a senior at Northwestern. I was an intern before I graduated working on the email team doing offline fundraising, worked as a staffer through the election and worked for his non-profit Organizing for Action for a year. (Eventually,) I came up to New York and worked for Hillary Clinton as her email director.

The Daily: What inspired you to found “Run for Something?”

Litman: After the election, I got a Facebook message from somebody I had known from school who (said), ‘Hey, I’m a public school teacher in Chicago, our budget steepening crashed, I want to run for office to fix it. You know about this — what do I do?’ And I did not have an answer for him, because at the time, if you were young, you were newly excited about politics and you wanted to do more than just vote or volunteer, there was nowhere you could go that would help you. So I decided to solve the problem. I saw a hole in the democratic system and I figured I couldn’t wait for someone else to fill it. I had to do it myself.

The Daily: How are you preparing for the 2020 election cycle?

Litman: Just in the last month, we had nearly 2,000 people sign up to run for office, which is crazy. It’s exponential growth. Second, we have candidates running for office in 2020 who we’ve been working with for three years. So, this really does take a while to get to that and to be really effective at. We expect to endorse 1,000 candidates this year, more than doubling the lifetime number of people we’re deeply engaging with. We’re especially focusing our efforts on places where there’s a priority for redistricting, ensuring that Democrats have a seat at the table when it comes to redrawing congressional boundaries after the census.

The Daily: How do you specifically help and interact with each individual campaign?

Litman: Once we identify somebody who wants to run, (we help them with) whatever they need. Maybe they need help figuring out how to open the bank accounts that will let them actually start their campaign. Maybe they need help getting their voter file. Maybe they need help hiring staff or writing campaign (literature) or building a website or navigating a tricky communications problem. Whatever it is the campaign needs, we will be able to support them.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @isabellesarraf

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