The PDNJ County Committee Training Program is designed to empower progressives and build progressive power to transform the Democratic Party. PDNJ will provide local candidates running for county committee the resources and support they need to launch a campaign in their community and win on election day.
Over the course of 5 weeks, candidates will receive interactive training and resources for running for office – including leadership, voter outreach, communications, policy and fundraising. Following training, candidates will receive consistent support, campaign guidance, and access to PDNJ resources.
The deadline to apply to participate in the Fall 2023 cohort is
Monday, October 30, 2023.
All applicants will be invited to participate in a 15-minute interview.
All applicants will be notified of the status and decision on their application by Wednesday, November 6, 2023.
Identify as a progressive or leftist.
Must be committed to the values and principles expressed in the PDNJ platform.
Have an interest in progressive politics, good government, and organizing their community.
Be able to commit at least 6 hours per week to receiving training and running for office.
Be organized, reliable, prompt, detail-oriented, and self-motivated.
Have access to WiFi and electronic devices, such as a cellphone and laptop. Other devices such as tablets and desktop computers can be used as well. All sessions will be completed remotely.
Unit 1: Understanding NJ Government & Politics
Theory of Government
Levels of Government
Unit 4: Fundraising & Campaign Finance
The Importance of Fundraising
Campaign Finance Rules & Regulations
Unit 2: Progressive Values, Ethics, & Leadership
Understanding the Political Status Quo
Avoiding Corrupting Influences
Outlining Progressive Values
Defining Progressive Leadership
Unit 5: Communications
Basic Communications Theory
Storytelling & Messaging
Unit 3: Getting on the Ballot
What are Ballot Petitions
Requirements of Petition Signatures
How to Collect Signatures
Unit 6: Organizing and Direct Voter Contact
Organizing Skills and Best Practices
Direct Voter Contact Strategies
2023-2024 Program Schedule
Candidates must be able to attend and complete the following program requirements:
Training Program Session 1
Saturday, November 18, 2023 | 11:00am-2:00pm
Training Program Session 2
Saturday, December 2, 2023 | 11:00am-1:00pm
Training Program Session 3
Saturday, December 9, 2023 | 11:00am-1:00pm
Training Program Session 4
Saturday, December 16, 2023 | 11:00am-12:00pm
Candidates will check in with PDNJ organizers on the following dates to provide updates on their progress, ask questions, and receive support and guidance as they run their race.
Campaign Check-In 1
Saturday, January 13, 2024 | 10:00am-11:00am
Campaign Check-In 2
Saturday, February 10, 2024 | 10:00am-11:00am
Campaign Check-In 3
Saturday, March 9, 2024 | 10:00am-11:00am
Campaign Check-In 4
Saturday, April 13, 2024 | 10:00am-11:00am
Campaign Check-In 5
Saturday, May 11, 2024 | 10:00am-11:00am
Why should I run for office? Although New Jersey is often thought of as an overwhelmingly Democratic and progressive state, decisions about the party’s policy priorities and endorsed candidates are typically made behind closed doors by a handful of party insiders. Running for office and giving voice to real local issues can have tremendous influence over shaping the direction of the Democratic party and over elections in NJ. Competitive primaries are one of the main ways to hold our politicians accountable. PDNJ is organizing to bring power back to voters and make the Democratic party of NJ inclusive, transparent and participatory.
What is the County Committee? What is a County Committee Member? The Democratic Party is governed and run by committees of registered Democrats at various levels, including national, state, and county. In each county, the Democratic County Committee is the official organization that exists to promote the Democratic platform, support candidates for office, and build a community of Democrats to achieve party goals. The County Committee is the most local unit of party governance. The County Committee is composed of representatives elected at the neighborhood or voting district level. These representatives – or County Committee Members – are elected from each voting district in each municipality of the County. Voting districts are usually just a few blocks.
What are the basic responsibilities of a County Committee member? Attend committee meetings (typically 1-2 times a year) Elect party leadership, including municipal and county chairs Help fill vacancies in public offices Screen and nominate candidates to run in the party primary election Vote on matters brought to the committee, including party rules and policy agendas
Who can run for County Committee? You must be at least 18 years old by the 2nd Saturday in June. You must be a registered Democrat You must be a resident in the district you are running to represent
Where is my Election Voting District? To find out what your voting district number is, enter your address in voter.svrs.nj.gov/polling-place-search.
Do I need political experience to apply to the Candidate Training Program? No! PDNJ is committed to eliminating typical barriers to civic engagement and running for office. This includes dispelling the notion that one has to be a well-connected political insider to run for office. As long as you share our values and can commit at least 6 hours a week to training and campaigning, PDNJ is here to empower you with the knowledge, skills, and tools you need to run for office.
What will I be expected to do as a PDNJ candidate? All PDNJ candidates are expected to: 1. Collect enough petition signatures to qualify for ballot placement in their primary election. 2. Participate in Candidate Check-ins. 3. Run under the Progressive Democrats of New Jersey slogan. 4. Lead campaign voter outreach efforts in their election district, including door-to-door canvassing, phonebanking, and textbanking.
Do I have to attend every session? Attendance and full participation at training sessions and campaign check-ins is essential for candidate training objectives and effective campaign planning. Accepted applicants are allowed one (1) unexcused absence from mandatory sessions. Failure to attend the required number of sessions may result in dismissal from the program.
Who leads the PDNJ Candidate Training Program? PDNJ state leaders and organizers have developed this program and organizing model. Experienced progressive organizers will lead each session. The program is also monitored and supported by an Advisory Committee which includes representatives from our partner organizations.
What is PDNJ? The Progressive Democrats of New Jersey (PDNJ) is a New Jersey non-profit social welfare organization centered around electoral education, training, and organizing. We are Democrats united around a progressive, leftist agenda that puts working people first and advocates for social, racial, economic, and environmental justice. We are a diverse, energetic, dedicated coalition that fights for fairness in politics and true justice for all.