21st Century Democrats

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21st Century Democrats is a political organization that has stood for Progressive causes for over 20 years. Founded in 1986 by Senator Tom Harkin, Texas Agriculture Secretary Jim Hightower, and Congressman Lane Evans, 21st Century Democrats has helped elect progressive politicians such as U.S. Senator Tim Johnson, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, U.S. Senator Russ Feingold, and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. Its three main goals are to help elect progressive candidates, train young people about grassroots organizing, and lastly, to continue to support our elected officials after Election Day "through our comprehensive progressive network".

Board chair is one time Democratic Socialists of America member Jim Scheibel.


The mission of 21st Century Democrats is to build a "farm team" of progressive populists who will be the future leaders of the Democratic Party.[1]

According to Advisory Board member Carol Moseley Braun;

“We can turn back the growing power of the extreme right wing in this country by standing with 21st Century Democrats. We need every committed Democrat to get involved — the future of our nation is at stake.[2]


In 2004 election cycle, according to the Political Money Line, it was the 13th largest Political Action Committee (PAC) in the United States raising nearly $7 Million. Among progressive ideological PACs, it ranked fourth behind America Coming Together, EMILY's List, and MoveOn.org. [3]

Unlike traditional PACs, 21st Century Democrats focuses on recruiting, training, and hiring field organizers to organize grassroots campaigns on behalf of candidates for local offices, statewide office, and even targeted presidential swing states.[3] The group has ties to Democracy for America, which grew out of Howard Dean's presidential campaign.[4].


Advisory Board

The 21st Century Democrats Advisory Board, as of May 2013 consisted of ;[5]


The following work for the organization:[6]


As at Dec. 21, 2008, the following worked for the group:[8]

Training Participants

The following have participated in the campaign training sessions that the group holds:[9]

  • Rick Barrett, attended June 19, 2010 training; worked as Field Organizer for Matt Dunne (Governor, VT)
  • Treva Ross, attended April 18, 2010 training; volunteered for the Hans Riemer Campaign (Montgomery County Council- At Large, MD)

Endorsed Candidates

The following candidates have received endorsement from 21st Century Democrats. The position listed after their name denotes the position they were campaigning for; not their currently held position:[10][11][12][13][14][15][16]




2013 & 2014

















  1. 21st Century Democrats FaceBook page, accessed Dec. 21, 2010
  2. 21st Century Democrats Advisory Board
  3. [Attlesey, Sam; Stahl, Lori (January 23, 1996). "New Group Seeks to Re-Focus Democratic Message.". Local News (Dallas Morning News)
  4. [Garofoli, Joe (September 22, 2004). "Attention overwhelms tiny slice of swing state" (Article). News. The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved December 22, 2008]
  5. 21st Century Democrats Advisory Board
  6. 21st Century Democrats: Staff (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)
  7. 21st Century Democrats: Executive Director (archived on Web Archive, April 18, 2009; accessed on July 26, 2011)
  8. 21st Century Democrats: Executive Director (archived on Web Archive, Dec. 21, 2008; accessed on July 26, 2011)
  9. 21st Century Democrats: Alumni in the Field (accessed on July 26, 2011)
  10. 21st Century Democrats: Past Candidates (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)
  11. 21st Century Democrats: 2006 Candidates (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)
  12. 21st Century Democrats: 2007 Candidates (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)
  13. 21st Century Democrats: 2008 Candidates (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)
  14. 21st Century Democrats: 2009 Candidates (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)
  15. 21st Century Democrats: 2010 Candidates - First Round (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)
  16. 21st Century Democrats: 2010 Candidates - Second Round (accessed on Feb. 9, 2011)