Future Winners Program

The bi-annual Future Winners program, established by Sister District in partnership with Run for Something and EMILY’s List, works to shore up the pipeline of progressive state legislative candidates by continuing to invest in developing exceptional candidates who came up a bit short in their last run.

Progressive donors and organizations invest significant time, energy, and resources into candidates, but sometimes even fantastic candidates lose. In these cases, losses can be the down payments on future successes. However, many candidates need encouragement and additional resources to stay in the pipeline. This is particularly true for women, candidates of color, and nontraditional candidates who faced structural barriers to running the first time.

The Future Winners program helps us move away from treating candidates as static electoral objects, and toward treating candidates as people on a trajectory of power. Using data, research, and expert insight, we expand on the strengths these high potential candidates already possess, help them to better tell their story, connect them with peers for support, and help fine-tune their platform to connect with progressive policies and the needs of the voters in their district. 

Our 2021 cohort included 15 exceptional former candidates from purple districts in 10 states. The program provided these Future Winners with the skills, resources, and community they need to succeed in future campaigns. 

Applications for the 2023 cohort will become available in late 2022. 

The program includes:


Through facilitated gatherings, a database of cohort members, and opportunities to connect with state legislators who initially lost a race, but won in a subsequent attempt.

Holistic Analysis of Past Results

To identify specific strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for learning.

Deep Dives

Into the political dynamics of each candidate’s race to help them better manage their relationships with their caucus, vendors and consultants, and local government officials.


During cohort workshops on advanced topics in fundraising, campaign budgeting, relationship-building, and communications.

How do we identify Future Winners?

While there are many incredible Democratic candidates across the country who should run again, the Future Winners program remains small by design, to allow for deeper skills-building and skills-transfer within the cohort. To identify Future Winners, we analyze candidates’ districts and individual characteristics, as well as the strength of their previous campaigns. We look for candidates with a clear and compelling purpose for running, the ability to build a strong campaign team, and backgrounds and experiences that build toward a more reflective democracy. We also look for candidates who demonstrated teachability during previous campaigns, as well as the ability to run strong field programs.

Sister District Candidates

Since 2016, Sister District Teams have endorsed and supported 99 candidates nationwide, winning over 70 races. Learn more about Sister District Candidates here and our Candidate Selection Process here. Hear from the candidates themselves in our Candidate Spotlight Interview Series, posted here on the website and on Instagram Live!

Stay tuned for updates on the Sister District endorsements for the 2022 Midterm Elections and post-election analysis. 

Lessons To Take Into Future Races

Check out Dr. Gaby Goldstein’s post-race analysis on the 2021 Virginia State Elections and what lessons Progressives and Democrats need to take into account moving forward.

Voters often favor progressive policies like minimum wage increases, cannabis legalization, prison reform, and protecting the right to vote. However, Republican state legislatures are ignoring their voters and finding ways to silence their voices, such as voter suppression and gerrymandering. It’s up to brave, forward-thinking individuals to run for office, even in the face of immense competition, to get the progressive message out and show voters how to build a more sustainable, equitable, and inclusive future. With the help of grassroots organizing and passionate volunteers nationwide, Progressive success is not only a possibility, but a reality! Virginia’s Democratic Trifecta achieved so much, such as the Voting Rights Act, the abolishment of the death penalty, increased the minimum wage, signed the Clean Energy Act, and protected Reproductive Rights. 

Help Us Continue This Work By Donating To Sister District!