October 3, 2018

By Jacob Vurpillat

With 35 days until November 6th, primary season is over and we are barreling full-steam ahead to the general election. 

That said, here at NDTC we want to take a few minutes to highlight some of the most incredible moments of the primary season.

In total, we saw over 511 primary winners across the country. Out of these winning candidates, over 275, or 54 percent, are women.

NDTC trained candidates were victorious in their primaries at all levels of government.

They won local races like school board and city council, state house and state senate primaries, statewide seats like Secretary of State and Commissioner of Agriculture, and they won Congressional races.

Win or lose, we are proud of any candidate willing to step up and run for office. You didn’t just sit on the sidelines, you took action to fight for what you believe in. And for that, we’re proud of all of you

Let’s take a dive into a recap of the primary season!

March Kicks Off Primary Season

Primary season for NDTC trainees kicked off in NDTC’s very own home state of Illinois! We were beyond excited to see Illinois voters hit the ballot box in March.

For each of the past two years, NDTC hosted a Candidate Bootcamp in May, in partnership with the Illinois Democratic County Chairs Association. In May of 2017, this served to be one of NDTC’s first ever live trainings.

We were thrilled to see an overwhelming number of Illinois trainees step up and run for office.

In total, NDTC saw 40 Illinois candidates win their primaries in March! Candidates won from local school board races all the way up to the congressional level.

Some of NDTC candidates in Illinois are Lauren Underwood for Congress and Jen McMillin for State Representative.

May Brings NDTC Primary Winners

With no primaries in April, the next wave of NDTC candidates to hit the voting booth came on May 8th. Between North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio, and West Virginia, NDTC saw 61 candidates win their primaries!

The next week, NDTC candidates from Pennsylvania, Idaho, Oregon, and Nebraska took their states by storm, as 37 NDTC trainees advanced on to the general election. The Nebraska Radio Network highlighted some of NDTC’s work in their state, take a look!

May’s primaries then wrapped up on May 22nd, with Kentucky, Georgia, Texas, and Arkansas all hosting primaries. In total, 64 NDTC trainees across the three states won their primaries!

If you want to read more about NDTC candidates from May, check out our candidate spotlight from the month! We highlight Brianne Larisse Solomon, Tom Tull, and Sandy Adams Shaw, who are all teachers in West Virginia who decided to run for office!

Super Tuesday’s in June

June kicked off the month with the Super Tuesday of the primary season! Alabama, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, South Dakota, Iowa, New Jersey, and California all held primaries on June 5th, leading the way to 68 victories for NDTC trainees.

The month then continued on to Virginia, South Carolina, and North Dakota. We are proud to have seen 26 victorious candidates across the three states.

After a two week break, primary season returned in Maryland, Oklahoma, Utah, and Colorado. NDTC closed out the month with another 50 winnings candidates in these states!

If you want to read more about NDTC’s candidates from June, read our candidate spotlight from the month! In honor of Pride Month, we highlighted multiple LGBTQ+ candidates, many of whom won their primary in June. Check out the blog here, where you can read about candidates like Amelia Marquez, Sydney Ludwick, and George Neighbors.

Primaries Return in August

After a long primary-less month, primary season returned once again in August! NDTC started the month off strongly on a Thursday night primary in Tennessee! Despite just one state holding their primary on August 2nd, NDTC still saw 15 NDTC trainees win their primary!

The month continued on to it’s regular Tuesday night primaries with Kansas, Missouri, Michigan, and Washington, bringing an incredible 77 NDTC trainees a primary win!

Be sure to check out Dan Merica’s piece on CNN, where he highlights several candidates, including Ryana Parks-Shaw and Terri McKinnon, who won their primaries in August. Read it here!

NDTC’s month ended with three sets of primaries across six states. NDTC saw Wisconsin, Minnesota, Wyoming, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, bring home 40 NDTC trained primary winners!

September Closes Out the Primaries!

September came about much more quickly than expected, but we were ready to close out the primary season!

NDTC’s September started with primaries in Delaware, where we saw 13 NDTC Trainees win their primary! This included candidates for state representative, state senator, state treasurer, and local races.

We then continued on to New Hampshire where NDTC Trainees saw a clean sweep of their primaries! All of NDTC’s 17 New Hampshire candidates emerged as the winner of their primary.

Finally, the primary season concluded with the state of New York, seeing an additional 4 candidates join the other 507 NDTC trainees who had already won their primary.

Let’s Turn the Focus to November

All in all, NDTC was proud to see all of our candidates who were willing to step up and run for office. Running for office can be a scary step to take, but that’s why we’re here every step of the way. If you decide to run for office, we’ve got your back.

With a little over a month to go, we’re excited to turn our full focus to the general election.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be focused on what you need to know to be successful in the last month before the election. To start, make sure to take out GOTV course to make sure you turn out voters on election day!

Congratulations to all of our trainees, keep up the hard work!


Jacob is the Manager of Political Communications for NDTC. Jacob was initially an intern for NDTC in 2016 before moving on to work for both a Chicago Alderman and an Illinois State Representative. After working in Parliament in the Republic of Ireland, Jacob joined NDTC in April of 2018. Jacob is a graduate of DePaul University with a degree in Political Science. Outside of politics, Jacob tries to forget the Chicago Cub's century of losing while enjoying their recent success.