"There are many highly qualified Democrats across Lehigh County who would make excellent local officials, but most never consider running because they're concerned they lack the proper experience to handle the details of running a campaign," said Daugherty. "Our communities benefit when more people feel they can participate in the political process in a significant way. We plan to provide a lot of guidance and support so that those interested in running for office are encouraged to do so, even if they're political novices."
The meetings Daugherty plans with potential candidates in early 2007 will be a chance for him and Neil Brown, LCDC Candidate Recruitment Chair, to inform candidates of the support the LCDC will offer. Initial support will include training on campaign tactics, key local issues, and the responsibilities of local government, as well as in-depth assistance in filing candidacy papers.
Daugherty noted that the LCDC typically stays neutral on individual races in the primary. Thus, the LCDC will offer the same help to all Democrats on the primary ballot in a given race. After the primary is over, and Democratic voters have chosen their nominees, the LCDC will assist candidates with voter contact, volunteer recruitment, fundraising, and communications strategy.
The LCDC's recruitment drive aims to build on the momentum created by the party's recent growth and electoral success. After winning several key races in 2005, including those for Mayor of Allentown and the County Executive in both Lehigh and Northampton Counties, local Democrats in 2006 claimed 6 of 12 State Legislature seats representing parts of Lehigh Valley while contributing to large-margin statewide wins for Governor Ed Rendell and Senate candidate Bob Casey Also, Democrats in Lehigh County increased their voter-registration edge over Republicans to a margin of almost 12,000 voters in 2006, while building grassroots support through the creation of new Democratic clubs in Salisbury, South Whitehall Township and western Lehigh County.
Democrats interested in learning more about running for municipal or county office should contact Neil Brown, LCDC Candidate Recruitment Chair, at 610-691-4110, ext. 12, or firstname.lastname@example.org.