Rising Democratic stars throw weight behind candidate training effort as party prepares for midterm elections

Group hopes to prepare candidates for day-to-day of running campaigns

John Bowden
Saturday 21 August 2021 18:55
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<p>Lauren Underwood</p>

Lauren Underwood

Two second-term House Democrats and one newly-elected member are joining a group focused on training new candidates for the rigours of running a campaign for elected office.

Reps Katie Porter, Lauren Underwood and Nikema Williams are joining the National Democratic Training Committee as honourary co-chairs of the organisation, the group said in a press release this week.

The announcement comes as Democrats, especially those in swing districts, are preparing for a fight with Republicans for control of the House next year.

Ms Underwood, a second-term member from Illinois, said in a statement that she used the group’s free training courses during her own run for office in 2018, when she defeated a Republican in a deeply purple district by single digits (she repeated the feat in 2020).

“When I decided to run for Congress, I didn’t know where to begin, so I turned to the free resources that NDTC offers. My campaign training with NDTC was the game changer that launched me on the path to victory. I want as many Democrats as possible to do just that,” she said.

Ms Porter, whose questioning of witnesses on the House Financial Services Committee won her acclaim from Democratic fans before her removal from the panel this year, said in a statement that the NTDC was “leading the way in getting resources to Americans across the country who want to make a difference in their communities”.

“Before my first Congressional campaign, I had never run for public office before, so I know how challenging it is for first-time candidates and new activists,” she said.

House Democrats face an uncertain path to holding their majority in 2022, which as a midterm election historically has presented a challenge for the party in control of the White House.

Democrats in swing districts, including both Ms Porter and Ms Underwood, will be under pressure to hold their seats in the face of a GOP which has yet to formulate a cohesive anti-Biden message other than resistance to mask and vaccine mandates despite America’s continued battle with the Delta variant of Covid-19.

Some Republicans have continued to hamper the party’s ability to take credit for the former administration’s efforts to speed the development of vaccines or event present a competent understanding of the pandemic by spreading misinformation about vaccines and the virus itself.

A Quinnipiac University poll, rated with an A- quality by FiveThirtyEight, showed Democratic candidates with a slight edge over Republicans, within the poll’s margin of error, on a generic midterm congressional ballot earlier this month.

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