The Democratic Road Forward PAC, established by former Delegate Mitch Van Yahres in 2003, has provided candidate development resources to aspiring Democratic candidates in the Charlottesville/Albemarle region for over sixteen years. The Candidate Development Academy was created by the PAC in 2014 as an annual program offering a structured curriculum to introduce potential candidates, campaign staffers and activist Democrats to the fundamentals of running a successful campaign. The program consists of between four and eight sessions in which knowledgeable, experienced speakers introduce the participants to the basics of planning, financing, staffing and operating a successful campaign. In addition, the PAC has offered a series of forums on Understanding Government in alternating years. All PAC programs are free.
The number of CDA participants has increased steadily each year. Many have gone on to run for public office, while others have assisted Democratic candidates by serving on their campaign staff. In addition, the PAC’s outreach efforts have succeeded in spreading word about the program, with the result that participants from localities throughout Central Virginia now attend the program.
We are currently aware of ten CDA participants who have announced or are scheduled to announce their candidacy for office in 2019. Of those, two are running for State Senate, two for House of Delegates, two for Charlottesville City Council, two for Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, and two for Albemarle County Constitutional Office. There will probably be more announcements before the registration deadline.