Despite the chatter from the punditry, yesterday was a big day for Millennials. While they focus on two races with candidates that ignored the youth vote and wonder why turnout did not match 2008’s all time high, a number of young people won local elections throughout the country.
In New York, Young Democrats of America Democratic National Committeewoman Stephanie Hausner was the highest vote getter in her election to the Clarkstown Town Council. Former NYSYD National Committeeman David Carlucci won re-election as Clarkstown Town Clerk. Two former New York Young Democrats local chapter leaders, Dan French and David Fried, won local elections as well.
In New Hampshire, state Young Democrats President Garth Corriveau was elected Alderman in Manchester as was fellow NHYD Patrick Arnold.
In Washington, Kim Cole was elected to the Lynnwood City Council, Andy Ryder to the Lacey City Council, Amy Ockerlander to the Duvall City Council.
Over Twitter I’ve been told of a recent high school graduate that was elected to a school board in Michigan, as well as a number of other Millennial candidates that were giving victory speeches last night.
In towns and cities across the country young voters showed up to the polls to elect their own. These young local candidates realized the power of their generation, chose to run for office, and by reaching out to fellow young voters won their elections.
Yesterday’s lesson was not that young voters only showed up to the polls in 2008 to elect Barack Obama, but that Democrats must continue the youth outreach and funding that occurred during the 2008 cycle. The Millennial generation does not exist to serve at the beck and call of the DNC without being respected. When a candidate speaks to the issues of young voters and actively campaigns for their votes, they will deliver. The new generation of candidates understands this, and most of those candidates have a title with -elect after it today. Creigh Deeds and Jon Corzine didn’t, and in return were relegated to giving concession speeches.
The lesson for Democrats in 2010 is this: take the youth vote for granted at your own peril. If you want young voters to deliver for you, you have to be serious about earning their votes.
UPDATE: It is important to note that the 2008 youth turnout was the result of funding and youth turnout effort from 2004 through 2008, and not an isolated 2008 effort.