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Program Overview

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 16 weeks, candidates will receive interactive training and resources for running for office – including leadership, voter outreach, communications, and fundraising. Candidates will pool resources through PDNJ's Joint Fundraising Program and receive coaching and strategic support through a Coordinated Campaign.

Application Process

Application

The deadline to apply to participate in the Spring 2023 cohort is

Monday, January 23, 2023.

Candidate Interview

All applicants will be invited to participate in a 15-minute interview.

Notification

All applicants will be notified of the status and decision on their application by Monday, January 30, 2023.

Candidate Requirements

  1. Participate in PDNJ’s Joint Fundraising Program 

  • Candidates must commit to fundraise for the PDNJ State Political Action Committee (PAC). The fundraising goal for each candidate is $500. Meeting the monetary goal is not a requirement of the program, but putting in the time and energy to fundraise using the skills taught through the program. All funds will be used to support the Coordinated Campaign. 

  • Candidates will receive training, resources, and support for conducting fundraising calls (call time) and initiatives. 

  • Candidates will receive a custom ActBlue page to raise funds. 

Candidates will fundraise in accordance with PDNJ’s Campaign Finance Ethics Pledge.

2. Participate in PDNJ’s Coordinated Campaign 

  • Candidates will attend regular Campaign Check-Ins to provide updates and receive strategic support. 

  • Candidates will participate in coordinated campaign and voter outreach efforts. 

  • Candidates will have access to PDNJ’s digital tools for canvassing, phonebanking, and textbanking. 

  • Candidates will receive printed campaign materials (literature). 

  • Candidates will receive a website landing page that includes a headshot, biography, policy platform, and links to social media platforms. 

  • Candidates will receive volunteer support from PDNJ members and chapters.

3. Not run on the “ballot line” with the Democratic Party 

  • Candidates will not seek nor accept an offer to bracket with a county Democratic organization (also known as “taking the Line”).

  • Candidates will not seek nor accept funds from unethical sources.

  • Candidates will not run in coordination with a county Democratic organization or utilize their official ballot slogan. 

  • Candidates will have the option to utilize the “Progressive Democrats of New Jersey” ballot slogan.

Ideal Candidates

  • 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 5-10 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.

Program Curriculum

Unit 1: Understanding NJ Government & Politics 

Learning Objectives 

  • Theory of Government 

  • Levels of Government

  • Machine Politics 

  • Understanding County Committee as a Building Block of Community Power

Unit 4: Fundraising & Campaign Finance 

Learning Objectives 

  • The Importance of Fundraising 

  • Fundraising Misconceptions 

  • Fundraising Strategies

  • Rolodexing 

  • Call Time

  • Campaign Finance Rules & Regulations

Unit 2: Progressive Values, Ethics, & Leadership 

Learning Objectives 

  • Understanding the Political Status Quo

  • Avoiding Corrupting Influences

  • Outlining Progressive Values 

  • Defining Progressive Leadership

Unit 5: Communications 
 

Learning Objectives 

  • Basic Communications Theory 

  • Communications Strategies 

  • Storytelling & Messaging

Unit 3: Getting on the Ballot 
 

Learning Objectives 

  • What are Ballot Petitions

  • Requirements of Petition Signatures 

  • How to Collect Signatures

  • Quality Assurance 

  • Bracketing

Unit 6: Organizing and Direct Voter Contact 

Learning Objectives 

  • Understanding Organizing 

  • Organizing Skills and Best Practices 

  • Goal Setting 

  • Direct Voter Contact Strategies

Spring 2023 Program Schedule 

Candidates must be able to attend and complete the following program requirements: 

 

Training Program 

Training Program Session 1 

Saturday, February 11, 2023 | 11:00am-2:00pm

 

Training Program Session 2 

Saturday, February 18, 2023 | 11:00am-1:00pm

 

Training Program Session 3

Saturday, February 25, 2023 | 11:00am-1:00pm

 

Training Program Session 4

Saturday, March 4, 2023 | 11:00am-12:00pm

Coordinated Campaign Check-Ins 

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

Sunday, March 19, 2023 | 4:00pm-5:00pm

 

Campaign Check-In 2

Sunday, April 2, 2023 | 4:00pm-5:00pm

 

Campaign Check-In 3

Sunday, April 16, 2023 | 4:00pm-5:00pm

 

Campaign Check-In 4

Sunday, April 30, 2023 | 4:00pm-5:00pm

 

Campaign Check-In 5

Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 4:00pm-5:00pm

 

Campaign Check-In 6

Sunday, June 4, 2023 | 4:00pm-5:00pm

FAQ

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.

Why is the County Committee important? Why should I run for this 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. County Committee members can have tremendous influence over shaping the direction of the Democratic party and over elections in NJ. PDNJ is organizing to bring power back to voters and make the County Committee inclusive, transparent and participatory. As a County Committee member you will have the power to: Improve and transform the Democratic party Support progressive candidates in nominating elections and conventions Advocate on issues you care about and promote progressive policy solutions Organize your community and engage voters in your neighborhood

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

What is the time commitment of a County Committee member? County Committee members serve a two-year term The day-to-day time commitment is flexible and depends on how much you want to do with your role.

How do I join the County Committee? Committee members are elected during primary elections. To get elected, you have to collect signatures to be placed on the ballot and run a campaign to connect with and turn out voters.

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 County Committee 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 5 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 County Committee candidate? All PDNJ County Committee candidates are expected to: 1. Collect enough petition signatures to qualify for ballot placement in the 2023 primary election. 2. Participate in the Joint Fundraising Program and attempt to raise at least $500. 3. 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 County Committee 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.

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