Progressives are now hoping to chip away at conservative dominance at the local governance level with 2,012 for 2012, a project by the New Organizing Institute and a coalition of left-of-center groups, including Progressive Majority and Rebuild the Dream. The original goal was to recruit 2,012 progressive candidates to run for local office in the 2012 elections, but the response was so overwhelming that the project has increased its goal to 5,000. So far, it has compelled 1,500 progressive candidates to pledge to run.
The effort is being led by Carlos Odio, who served on the Obama campaign and in the White House's Office of Political Affairs.
"[The White House] was a very good vantage point to see that increasingly, in so many of the fights that we were fighting, the battlefields were actually out in the states," Odio told The Huffington Post in an interview. "If we really want to make some progress on all these things that we care about, we not only have to get those decision-makers to be our allies, we have to actually elect our allies as decision-makers."
...Pedro Lopez, 19, has pledged to run for the Cartwright District School Board in Phoenix, Ariz., telling The Huffington Post his community needs progressive leadership now more than over.
"Our community needs equal access to education," he said. "The community needs opportunity in this economy. These are the values that progressive leaders have, and this is what we need here in Arizona especially. We need progressive leadership to lead us out of this bad economy here in Arizona."
"In the military, we had a creed that says nobody gets left behind," said Paul Worley, an Army veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who earned three Bronze Stars and is running for county commissioner in his native Adams County, Ohio. "I think those progressive values of making sure that everyone has a voice, and we're not just taking care of people who hold influence. We make sure that we're not just giving handouts, we're giving a hand up to those people that need help to make sure that no one gets left behind."
...All the candidates stressed that they are going to run on the local issues their community cares most about, rather than going after the national issues and legislation being pushed in Washington.
..."As progressives, we have the ability to do this," [Robert Borosage] said. "For 10 years now, we have been fighting back. We have been making progress. This is an effort to take it to a whole new level. We have the resources, we have the know-how, we have the opportunities -- we just need to bring it all together. 2012 is a great opportunity to do that."