Ohio Democrats say they have signed up nearly 600 Ohioans for their annual boot camp, a summer class where first-time candidates learn how to do everything from write and deliver a stump speech to fundraise.
The number of signups, touted as a record high, was cited in a press release and on Twitter this week.
— Ohio Dems (@OHDems) November 19, 2018
The Democratic Party’s Main Street Initiative, which recruits, trains and provides support to candidates running for local office, “is looking forward to another record-breaking year, as nearly 600 Ohioans have already signed up to participate in the program in 2019,” the release states.
This marks the fifth year the program has been offered.
“One of the most important priorities of the Ohio Democratic Party is to build a bench of great public servants, and we’re excited to see so many Ohioans stepping up to throw their hat in the ring next year,” said David Pepper, chair of the Ohio Democratic Party (pictured above). “2019 will be the fifth year of our Main Street Initiative, and every year the program grows stronger. In the winter of 2018 we trained more than 100 candidates and campaigns, and this summer we trained nearly 200 potential future candidates in organizing, fundraising and digital outreach.”
Despite their efforts, all of the major races, from governor to secretary of state, auditor and treasurer, went to Republicans, and none of the congressional seats held by Republicans were flipped from red to blue in Ohio.
But Democrats did claim several successes on the local level, all of which were credited to the Main Street initiative, including Michael Stinziano‘s win in the auditor’s race in Franklin County, and the election of Stephanie Dumas, the first African-American commissioner in Hamilton County. Additionally, the Main Street Initiative claimed a victory in Montgomery County, where Carolyn Rice’s win resulted in an all-female, all Democratic board of commissioners.
Mayoral races will be an important area of focus in 2019. Democrats run Ohio’s five largest cities and 13 of the state’s 15 largest cities.
“Over the past four years we’ve expanded our bench and increased its diversity,” said Pepper. “We’ve won races in red counties, in places like Chillicothe, Wilmington, Hillsboro and Fremont, because we believe great Democratic candidates can win anywhere in Ohio.”
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.