Any member of the Run for Something community can apply for our matching funds. 

In order to be eligible for funding from Run for Something, candidates must:

1. Meet a fundraising threshold or make a compelling case with a campaign plan


  • The candidate must have raised 15% of the funds required for the race. This will be calculated based on the average cost of that race and/or similar races for the last 1–3 cycles. The fundraising haul may not be from just one donor or self-funded — the candidate needs to show grassroots engagement.

    We will verify based on either official campaign finance filings or a campaign account bank statement.

“Race” is defined as the campaign leading up to a vote; a primary is a separate “race” from a general.


2. Be officially on the ballot (i.e. filed paperwork and/or acquired petition signatures if needed) and have an opponent officially on the ballot

3. Submit to a basic background check -- the candidate will have a chance to explain anything possibly contentious. This review is not to rule anyone out, but rather to help identify any known parts of self-research.

  • Criminal record search
  • Search on Lexis Nexis
  • FEC records
  • Social media review

4. Be a Democrat and meet the Run for Something progressive criteria

5. Be 35 or younger as of Election Day

6. Be a first or second-time candidate

7. Be running for a down-ballot office — this is defined as anything below statewide and federal office.

Candidates are eligible to apply for funding 45 days after filing with the appropriate campaign oversight agency.

For special elections, this timing may vary. Email to discuss your specifics.

Candidate who meet this criteria and apply for funding will be interviewed by Run for Something staff. For candidates who meet our criteria and we decide to support, we’ll contribute funding in amounts up to 15% of the average cost of that race. The donations may be given all at once or be staggered throughout the election.

The mechanics of this donation will vary from state to state, pending contribution limits and legal filings required. For some candidates, we’ll be able to donate the entire sum of the contribution directly from our PAC. For others, we’ll ask our grassroots community and donors of all levels to help directly make up the difference.

Any candidate who takes RFS funding must agree to a contract that includes:

  • Having a field program as a central component of their campaign where the candidate participates by knocking on doors and calling voters directly.

  • Fundraising using best practices and using all available mechanisms including but not limited to: call time, events, email, online and in-person meetings.

  • Including Run for Something as a strategic partner in the campaign and include them in major decisions like staffing, budgets, public communications and overall strategy.

  • Giving back time to Run for Something as a mentor after the election concludes.