Youth-led PAC seeks to elect Democrats in U.S. rural areas

A political action committee chaired by college students captures the attention of influential party stakeholders in its efforts to elect Democrats in American rural areas.

United Rural Democrats, started by 20-year-old Joe Shepherd from Iowa State University, seek to support and elect Democrats in rural areas who have become permanent GOP strongholds for decades.

“I think as rural America and urban America become more culturally separated, trust in society will become even more valuable to the Democrats who stay out there, and we will build the bench,” he said. Shepherd to The Washington Times.

The United Rural Democrats have a network of 200 people involved in its efforts, have attracted more than 23,000 followers on Twitter and have had the support of top campaign staff who have also worked for the Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential election. as Mr. Ryan.

So far, the PAC has raised more than $ 50,000 to help elect Democrats in rural areas since its founding in September 2020.

Democrats have been fighting to gain a foothold in rural areas for years.

Earlier this year, the Democratic reps launched. Cindy Axne of Iowa and Cheri Bustos of Illinois set up a rural task force in the communities around Des Moines to support the critical midterm elections.

A handful of Democrats in the swing district, including Ms. Bustos, co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition’s Rural Task Force, have announced retirement ahead of 2022.

Republicans must also have only five seats to overtake the Republican majority.

Kollin Crompton, communications director for the Iowa GOP party, rejected the idea that Democrats can make inroads into rural areas.

“The Iowa Democrats could not be more out of touch with the values ​​and problems that resonate with the rural Iowans,” said Mr. Crompton in a statement. “Their party leaders only represent Iowa’s city centers and basically believe that rural Iowa is part of the problem. Their failure has never been about organizing, it has always been about Iowans rejecting their extreme agenda.”

Michael Morley, a senior adviser to the Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who helped advise Mr. Shepherd’s PAC said Democrats need to communicate better with rural areas to strengthen cuts.

“I believe to a large extent that it improves our communication with that constituency because I believe that the Democratic Party, based on what the party stands for, can greatly attract these voters,” said Mr. Morley. “So we have to reach out, communicate with them and let them know where we as a party stand.”

Mr. Shepherd said the PAC has begun developing a council of advisers to support organizers across the country.

A former campaigner close to the United Rural Democrats said he believed its ability to organize young people to help elect rural legislators was a key factor in its early efforts.

“I think it’s great that this is a kind of youth-led organization,” the staff said. “I think it’s one of its strengths as it’s competing for space in the larger advocacy business.”

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