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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 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.

Application Process


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

Monday, October 30, 2023.

Candidate Interview

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.

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 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.

Program Curriculum

Unit 1: Understanding NJ Government & Politics 

Learning Objectives 

  • Theory of Government 

  • Levels of Government

  • Machine Politics

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

2023-2024 Program Schedule 

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


Training Program 

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

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

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

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.

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