Candidate Training

Run for Office

It is never too early to start preparing if you think you might want to run for office one day. There are a number of resources and programs that are available for prospective candidates. And when you're ready, reach out to our Chair, who will sit down with you to discuss your interests in depth.

The Democratic Party of Virginia's Pat Jennings Project provides access to online training and other resources.

Emerge Virginia trains Democratic women to run for office with a program that meets monthly on Saturdays for seven months. Applications are typically due in mid-October.

The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership offers a number of programs for political leaders including:

Political Leaders Program (PLP): Sorensen's flagship program is the PLP. It is a leadership development program for residents of Virginia interested in becoming more active in public service, whether as community leaders or as elected officials. Participation in this program has become a traditional "first step" for future political leaders in the Commonwealth. The class meets in various locations across Virginia, once a month from March through December except for the month of July.  Applications are due in mid-November.  

Candidate Training Program (CTP): A four-day program focused on the fundamentals of a winning campaign for office. Participants explore the nuts and bolts of building a strong campaign from the ground up-all within the context of ethics and principled public service. Applications are due the end of January with the program taking place over a long weekend in March.

Emerging Leaders Program (ELP):  A seven-day leadership development program for younger Virginia residents (ages 22 to 32) who have worked in state government and are interested in becoming more active in public service and public policy. Applications are due in mid-May.

VCU's Minority Political Leadership Institute (MPLI): is an intensive eight-month experience designed to promote leadership development for individuals interested in issues important to minority communities including: community economics, political climate, civic engagement, and equity. MPLI offers insights regarding leadership legacy and culture, personal leadership, policy and legislative processes, responsible stewardship, public service, and integrity for future leaders. Each program year, participants engage and interact with communities across Virginia and learn about unique strengths and issues facing different regions of the Commonwealth.  Application are available in January. The program consists of six two-day sessions during the months of April, May, June, Sept, and Oct.

Virginia Progressive Leadership Project (VPLP) provides a leadership development program over the course of four weekends. The program is "designed to empower experienced activists and community organizers by giving them the skills and connecting them to the people they need to take leadership roles in making change for and in their communities." Applications for the Spring program are due in late January.  Fall program applications are due early August.

Political Campaign Management Professional Certificate- a program at the University of Richmond designed to teach "the essential skills required to managed all aspects of a winning political campaign. Applications open in April. Course runs from late August - mid December. Meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

WInVirginia - provides campaign training and other resources for candidates running for the Virginia legislature.

Leadership Metro Richmond offers a collaborative ten-month program, Leadership Quest,  focused on developing "the necessary framework to make a positive and lasting impact in the greater Richmond Region." While this program is not focused specifically on political leadership, participants have included local and state elected officials. Applications open in February.

Higher Heights seeks to strengthen "Black women's participation in grassroots advocacy campaigns and the electoral process " in order to "created the environment in which more Black women, and other candidates who are committed to advance policies that affect Black women, can be elected to public office."  Higher Heights offers online training through webinars, as well as in-person training throughout the country in partnership with other organizations encouraging women to run for office.

She Should Run provides online training and other support to women interested in running for office through its Incubator program.