2022 was DSPolitical’s most ambitious year for our Ad Grants Program– with $100,000 being put forth to assist Democrats across the country in winning elections! Over 170 incredible candidates with unique profiles and perspectives applied.
Without further ado, we’re proud to introduce 17 passionate, strategic, and inspiring candidates– aka DSPolitical’s 2022 Ad Grants Program Recipients!
Anthony Vega has dedicated his life to serving the community around him. Through his experience in government, advocacy, community organizing, and volunteer work, he has learned what is important to his community and carries those experiences and conversations into his work every day. His Republican opponent cost taxpayers over half a million in taxpayer dollars settling a whistleblower lawsuit stemming from her office within the first two years of her term. As Lake County’s Clerk, Anthony will prioritize strong and ethical leadership to provide ballot access to all voters by modernizing the office and strengthening election security. Learn more about Anthony’s campaign here.
Elaine Marzola is originally from Brazil, but has lived in Las Vegas for more than 38 years. In that time, she’s overcome a litany of challenges, from getting her son ready to succeed, trying to make rent, or trying to make payroll. Beyond her tenacity, it was the support of the community that helped Elaine succeed. She ran for the Nevada State Assembly in 2020 because she wanted to give back to the community that helped her achieve the American Dream, and to make that dream more attainable. In her first reelection bid, she’s focusing on the issues that impact her community the most: schools, healthcare, economy and our individual rights. The race in District 21 is expected to be the tightest race in Nevada of this election cycle! Learn more about Elaine’s campaign here.
Erica Dominguez is a first-generation American with Mexican roots. Born and raised in San Antonio, TX, she graduated from public school and joined the United States Air Force at 18 years old and served nearly 8 years, serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. She has been with the Bexar County Public Defender’s Office for 7 years and has represented arrested persons who were deemed to have a mental health diagnosis from arrest to adjudication on the misdemeanor level in all the county courts while still maintaining the mental health court caseload. Erica is client based and knows what it’s like for clients to have minimal to no resources. Learn more about Erica’s campaign here.
Heather Bauer is running to give hope to the common person. Currently working as an IT project manager, she knows how to work with a diverse group of people toward a common goal. She is also a small business owner. While Heather chose South Carolina for the weather, she stayed for the people. Heather joined local boards, worked for nonprofits, and contributed to local tech startups. She made herself indispensable, figuring out what others could not. Heather is running against a Republican incumbent in a very tight race. Learn more about Heather’s campaign here.
Katie Muth was first elected to the state Senate in 2018, winning a longshot campaign against a longtime Republican incumbent. Katie has stood up to corporate polluters and defended the constitutional right of all Pennsylvanians to clean water, air, and land. She’s taken up arms against the Senate GOP for everything from transparency around judicial appointments to general assistance funding. This year, her district is ranked the most vulnerable of any Democratic-held senate district and is a top target for the Pennsylvania GOP. Holding onto this seat will be essential for winning a Democratic majority in the state senate. Learn more about Katie’s campaign here.
Kim Lewis has prioritized economic growth that benefits all people throughout her career, including historically neglected communities. She is running so she can use her experience and expertise to craft public policy that will expand opportunities and prosperity for all Alabamians. The SD2 race is the most competitive race for Democrats in the state of Alabama, and the incumbent is a 40 year career politician who is widely disliked, even within his own party. Learn more about Kim’s campaign here.
Lina Hildago became the first woman and first Latina to hold office as County Judge, and set forth with a new, fresh approach to the role and its management of public safety. She has sought to approach public safety with data-driven, results-oriented governing, taking into account all variables that affect the overall safety and well-being of a community. Cinching a successful reelection will enable Lina to continue building on the historic progress she has made for public safety in Harris County. Learn more about Lina’s campaign here.
Lynette Wendel is a longtime community advocate and professional mediator. She is running against a powerful, 10-term Republican incumbent. Last cycle, she closed 12.5 percentage points and gained over 2,500 votes on her opponent to fall short of victory by only 84 votes. Lynette was able to energize and organize members of the community who have long been demeaned and demoralized by the political process in Utah. Flipping this seat will unleash the opportunity to do the same in neighboring districts in the fewest number of cycles. Learn more about Lynette’s campaign here.
Michelle Brandt is an environmental scientist, mother of 2 and Commissioner of Charleston County Parks and Recreation Commission. She is running in one of the most competitive State House races in South Carolina. Her opponent is a first time candidate who is not well known in the district. Electing her is important because it will balance out the Charleston County Legislative Delegation removing the republican major and help increase the democrats in the State House. Winning this election matters in the fight for reproductive rights for all people in South Carolina. Learn more about Michelle’s campaign here.
Nabilah Islam is a lifelong fighter, organizer, and community advocate dedicated to advancing Democratic causes and values. In 2020, Nabilah served as a Senior Advisor to the Gwinnett Democratic Party, helping to turn Georgia blue and elect President Joe Biden. During the critical Senate runoffs, she led an organization that knocked on over 34,000 doors, turning out Black and Brown voters across Gwinnett for Senators Ossoff and Warnock. She also led a historic effort of reaching out to over 60,000 registered Muslim voters across the state. She is in a newly drawn district that is a toss up, and if elected, Nabilah will be the first South Asian woman elected, first Muslim women elected and the youngest person ever elected to the state Senate in Georgia’s history. Learn more about Nabilah’s campaign here.
Ruby Powell-Dennis is a former elementary school administrator and community servant who has lived in Memphis for over a decade. Ruby was born in Bogalusa, Louisiana. She has worked with students, teachers, families, and community members. It was Ruby’s time as an elementary school administrator that shaped her desire to work in electoral politics fighting back against policy that makes it virtually impossible to meet the needs of children and everyday, hard working people. She was recognized as a member of the Memphis Business Journal 2018 “40 Under 40” class and 2018 Outstanding Young Alumnus for the Fogelman College of Business at The University of Memphis. In addition to her local service, Ruby actively serves on several state and national governance boards. Learn more about Ruby’s campaign here.
Rowan Roman is running to put public service back into politics and ensure our government works for everyone. Ruwa’s platform centers education, healthcare, economic opportunity, and voting rights. The District is a blue district but has incredibly low voter turnout, so voter engagement is the top campaign priority. Her opponent is an “America-first” Republican running on Trump talking points. Electing Ruwa is incredibly important for the constituents in her District and turning out Democrats in District 97 is essential to elect Democrats up and down the ballot. Learn more about Ruwa’s campaign here.
Shoshanna Kelly is a pro-choice candidate in a state that has a republican majority in their Executive Council. As the first woman of color to get elected as an Alderwoman at large in Nashua, her candidacy is of critical importance to this state. The Executive Council splints judges and commissioners and approves state contracts. If elected in November, Shoshanna would be the highest elected woman of color in this state’s history. Learn more about Shoshanna’s campaign here.
Suzanne Harrison is a medical doctor who has served two terms in the state legislature. Her ability to win that House district twice proves she can win voters most Democrats cannot. She may be the best chance to stop the MAGA march in Salt Lake County and prevent the further consolidation of Republican power in that state. Suzanne is running against a moderate who has already been in office 12 years and who has voted in lockstep with the MAGA-types since they arrived. Her winning would break the Republican supermajority and prevent the same kind of extremist policies seen elsewhere. Learn more about Suzanne’s campaign here.
Tara Probst is running for Pennsylvania House of Representatives representing portions of Monroe and Pike Counties because we need better representation in Harrisburg. She will fight for funding and infrastructure for the region and for sensible tax reform that provides immediate relief and provides adequate funding for schools. She has been the mayor of Stroudsburg for 6 years and was recently re-elected with 70% of the vote. She wants to take her hard work, dedication and principles to Harrisburg to better serve the people of our region and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Learn more about Tara’s campaign here.
Wesley Thompson is a pastor, hospice chaplain, and licensed substitute teacher. He is focused on recruiting industry to the Shoals to ensure economic opportunity for everyone in the Shoals, but he is also committed to workforce development, investment in trade schools, and prioritization of small businesses. Wesley demonstrated emphatically in his 75/25 primary win over his Democratic opponent that he is the candidate with the ability and momentum to win in November. Learn more about Wesley’s campaign here.
Will Rucker is an intersectional candidate who brings experience in nonprofit, small business ownership, and faith communities to politics. He has been engaged in cultural transformation work since moving to Las Vegas in 2014 and is running to create tangible, meaningful change to Nevada. Equity is a core issue for Will and he believes that there is ample opportunity to bring this focus to the legislature, particularly in the areas of education, health and wellness, and the environment. This race is considered a GOP toss-up and will have a tight margin for victory. Will would be the first African American or openly LGBT representative for this district and the only gay member of the state legislature. Learn more about Will’s campaign here.