This year PFAW launched the Next Up Victory Fund, our new initiative to build the progressive bench by getting young, diverse progressives elected across the states. Thank you, so much, for your support of this project. It was a lot of workâ€¦ and it was wildly successful.We added to the overall number of progressive candidates in a big wayâ€¦ 85 percent of our endorsed candidates in Virginia won and, in a political earthquake, nearly tipped the balance of the overwhelmingly Republican legislatureâ€¦ and 2018 is going to be even bigger as we scale our program up.
Across the country, 40 Next Up candidates won their elections, including Melvin Carter who became the first Black mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota and Dimple Ajmera, the first Asian American on the Charlotte, North Carolina City Council.
In Virginia voters offered a resounding rejection of Trumpâ€™s racist agenda and policies and 12 of our 14 candidates in Virginia won. We are so proud to have been part of this sweeping victory that was historic for many reasons.
Justin Fairfax, Next Upâ€™s first endorsee, became the second African American to ever hold statewide office in Virginia as lieutenant governor.
And Danica Roem took the country by storm with her victory against one of the most bigoted members of the Virginia legislatureâ€¦ and she became the first openly transgender person to be seated in a state legislature.
But this isn't all, Anne. Many of our endorsees were first time candidates, which makes their successes all the more amazing. They werenâ€™t experienced politicians who knew how to run a campaign -- they were bright young people excited to bring progressive change to their communities. And we picked candidates everywhere -- not just in places that progressives historically have won. Thatâ€™s the key to rebuilding progressive power, nationwide, from the ground up.
This was particularly apparent in our victories in Virginia where Republican strongholds turned blue. Excitement about young diverse candidates like ours also created a reverse coattail effect where progressives vying for statewide seats benefitted from the well-run campaigns of candidates for local races.
These are all lessons weâ€™re taking into 2018 with us, when you can expect even more young progressive Next Up candidates to make a difference in the big midterm elections.
Thank you again for your unwavering support -- we canâ€™t do this work without you.
Lizet Ocampo, Political Director
People For the American Way is fighting the Right to defend our cherished constitutional rights and values. If you have not made your year-end donation to PFAW, please do so now to let us know you're with us as we head into the New Year.