Millennials Are Stepping Up to Run for Office

In the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, the focus is primarily on house, senate and governor races. But it is important to keep in mind that across large swaths of the country, state legislatures are pretty much a sea of red.

On that front, here is some good news from the folks at Run for Something:

There are 6,066 state legislative races on the ballot this fall, and Democrats have more than 5,300 candidates running. We’re contesting nearly 80 percent of all Republican seats, while Republicans are barely contesting half of ours. Nearly half of our candidates are women — more than twice as many compared to Republicans. And more than 1,100 are candidates of color, which is four times more than the Republicans have running.

That sounds a lot like what is going on in congressional races. But here’s where something new and exciting is happening:

We have almost 700 Democratic millennials, candidates aged 18–34, running for their state legislatures this year, in 46 states across the country.

Currently millennials of both parties make up barely 6 percent of all state legislators; we have a chance to nearly double that this November. This cycle marks a once-in-a-generation chance to dramatically change the makeup of our government, make a direct impact on local and state policy, and ultimately change the direction of our collective future. Millennial state legislators are setting themselves up for long careers in public service — they’re both the future leaders of our party as well as the right-here, right-now folks who are laying a path forward for our country.

The authors provided a chart of what that looks like in each state.

That is the result of a partnership between Run For Something and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC). We’ll have to check in after November 6th to find out if these efforts are successful in turning that sea of red into more diverse shades of yellow and blue. But here’s one thing we already know: the next time someone tells you that (a) millennials are slackers when it comes to politics, or (2) Democrats aren’t working to develop the next generation of leaders, you’ll be armed with information to the contrary.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.