Interested in becoming a Candidate? > Main Street Initiative – 2018

Main Street Initiative - 2018

The Ohio Democratic Party has trained candidates and staff and invested $1.5 million+ on local races across the state. And all the effort and investment has paid off! New judges, school board members, mayors, city council members and county commissioners have been elected along with retaining offices within traditionally Democratic strongholds - including 13 of 15 the largest city mayors. In addition, our diversity has increased as the next generation of public servants are coming forward to run for elected office! This program works!

Plan to attend the next Boitcamp session: Saturday, June 2, 2018, at Ohio Wesleyan University. This training is for potential Democratic candidates who want to run in 2019 or beyond. You'll learn how to get ready to run, and you'll also learn how to get engaged with the Campaign for Ohio coordinated campaign. You can help Democrats win in 2018, while building the skills and connections you'll need for a successful future race.

For more information:
Main Street Initiative – Building Our Bench in 2018

Main Street Candidate Questionnaire – 2.18
Questionnaire MUST be completed and submitted to be able to attend.

Next Main Street Training

Saturday, June 2, 2018
Ohio Wesleyan University
Additional information will be provided once questionnaire is submitted.


12.26.17 - Colleen Lowry, Ohio Democratic Party Women's Caucus & Constituency Director, reviews the highlights of our major victories by Democratic candidates from this past year! As Democrats, our core mission is to elect great public servants at every level of government. Are you ready for a BLUE wave in 2018? Watch this YouTube video to be inspired to take back Ohio in 2018 or even to run for office!

Ohio: Main Street Victories in 2017!

Thank You - Blue print

to everyone who attended the Main Street Training Session!
Attendees from Erie, Ottawa, Lorain, Sandusky Counties! 


“Everything in politics starts at the local level—
good candidates, good ideas, critical services.
This strategy and fund represent our commitment to build this party
from the local level, where it all begins.” – 
Chairman David Pepper


6.22.17 - FACT: A strong bench of effective public servants at all levels is truly the heart of a strong Democratic Party.

In 2016, the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) invested a great deal in our Main Street Initiative—from paid phone bank and canvass operations, to direct mail and poll worker programs—and despite the poor performance at the top of the ticket, we did see success in down-ballot races, including (but not limited to) the following:

  • 262 incumbent Democrats re-elected to office;
  • 38 Democrats elected including Kevin Boyce, Franklin County’s first—and the state of Ohio’s only—African-American County Commissioner, Paula Hicks-Hudson—the first African-American woman elected City of Toledo Mayor and Denise Driehaus, whose win in Hamilton County gives control of the Commission to Democrats for the first time in over a decade; 
  • Ohio’s five largest cities now have Democrats serving as mayor and nine out of Ohio’s 10 largest cities retained or elected Democratic mayors including a new generation of mayors in Columbus, Akron, Euclid and Athens;
  • Kept strong leaders in Parma, Lorain, Elyria, Springfield, Mount Vernon, Marietta, Marion, Warren and many other important communities around Ohio. In addition, council seats and mayorships in GOP areas were won in Wilmington to Carrollton to Chillicothe to Tipp City;
  • Wins in contested Appellate Court races—including electing the first-ever Latina to serve on the 1st District Court—and key wins on the Courts of Common Pleas in Cuyahoga, Franklin & Lucas counties.

This year, our Main Street Initiative is capitalizing on the wave of new energy and activism to: protect good, effective incumbent Democrats; continue to win races in counties, cities, townships, school boards and judicial seats that build our bench in local communities; and continue to expand the diversity of our bench and foster the next generation of public servants.

We look forward to working with candidates and campaign volunteers of various backgrounds and experience levels, including those who have previously run for office or have been involved in state and local politics for many years, to those who are brand new to the political process.  The benefits of Main Street are:

  • Candidates who have previously run for office or are currently in office will learn about the new technology and tools now available;
  • Candidates and campaign volunteers receive hands-on, customized fundraising and voter contact support, as well as individual and group trainings;
  • Candidates are part of a larger network and are promoted and touted to progressive donors and stakeholders across the state and country;
  • ODP staff with decades of political and campaign experience provide cutting edge technology, tools and trainings that have been refined based on past electoral success.


1.16.15 - COLUMBUS - At a meeting with county party chairs from across the state, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper announced the Party’s plan to make early investments in local races throughout Ohio in 2015, 2016 and beyond.

The Main Street Initiative will be laser focused on providing direct support to local candidates and staff, including financial investments to targeted races, messaging, voter contact, and fundraising trainings, and access to cutting edge technology and data, among other things.

To jump start the important investment in this strategy, David Pepper, former State Senator and ODP Chair of Political Engagement Nina Turner, former statewide candidate and State Representative John Patrick Carney, Cincinnati City Councilman PG Sittenfeld, former statewide candidate and State Representative Connie Pillich and others have already committed funds from their campaign committees to the Party’s new Main Street Victory Fund.

“Everything in politics starts at the local level—good candidates, good ideas, critical services,” Pepper said. “This strategy and fund represent our commitment to build this party from the local level, where it all begins. I’m proud to personally make the first contribution today to a program I believe will produce great results this year and beyond.”

“Having a strong bench of local elected officials is key to ensuring Democratic values are enacted in communities all over our state,” said John Patrick Carney, who also committed to support the Fund. “I’m excited to be a part of this important investment in those communities.”

As Democrats, we care about the welfare of ALL Ohioans. The Main Street Initiative is an opportunity to put our Democratic values into action at the local level. If Democrats do not support or cultivate our future leaders at the local level, then our values become forgotten and lost.



In January 2015, the Ohio Democratic Party announced a new initiative dedicated to winning local races across the state. Races for City Council, School Board and Mayor this year will set the table for the long term success of the party. Through the Main Street Initiative, the ODP will focus on those elections across Ohio, prioritizing defending incumbents and Democratic open seats, picking up new positions of leadership in local elections, and highlighting the brightest stars of the Party throughout the state.

The Main Street Initiative will provide many tools and resources to support local races, including:

  • Data Support
  • Administrative Services
  • Training
  • Media Support
  • Financial Investment

For more information on the ODP Main Street Initiative or to request consideration, 
please contact:  Colleen Lowry, Ohio Democratic Party
Women's Caucus & Constituency Director or 614.221.6563