People For the American Way

Next Up Victory Fund Celebrates 11 Endorsee Wins

State and Local Update

This May, 11 young, progressive candidates and Next Up endorsees won big in primary and special elections in New York, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.

Among these notable wins is Korin Kirk’s re-election to the Binghamton School District Board of Education in Binghamton, New York on May 21. As a native of the area, former educator, and grassroots organizer, Kirk based her campaign on implementing progressive education policies that reflect her experiences in the community. As a member of the school board, she has pledged to stop cuts in arts, sports, extracurricular activities, and gifted and talented programs to provide higher quality education to those in her district. Kirk has also addressed racial and gender inequity issues and has pledged a commitment to tackling climate change at the local level.

In Pennsylvania, Next Up endorsee Bethany Hallam won the primary election for an at-large seat on the Allegheny County Council. After struggling with an opioid addiction, Hallam spent time in Allegheny County Jail and temporarily lost her driver’s license. These experiences gave her a particularly unique perspective into some of the issues in her community, including gaps in the criminal justice system and public transportation. Along with being a longtime community organizer, she is also an outspoken proponent of the Black Lives Matter movement, LGBTQ+ rights, and implementing legislation that will ensure a fair living wage. The general election for this race will take place on November 5.

Ce-Ce Gerlach, another progressive candidate running for an at-large city council seat in Allentown, Pennsylvania, also won the primary election on May 21. In 2011, Ce-Ce became the youngest person ever elected to the Allentown School Board and was chosen to serve as vice president of the school board in 2015. During her primary campaign, she focused on fighting for the working class and addressing racial inequities in her town. As a grassroots organizer and experienced local politician, Ce-Ce has an impressive voting record, including her support of a $15 minimum wage and legislation to implement gender-neutral bathrooms in her district’s schools. The general election for this campaign will take place on November 5.

The only way to ensure progressive leaders on a national scale is to invest in local elections and politicians who need support on the ground. PFAW’s Next Up Victory Fund is proud of every endorsed candidate and celebrates these election wins for enabling progressive, community-driven change in their localities.

Additional wins include:

  • Kevin Carter, candidate for Pittsburg School Board District 8, PA
  • Joshua Siegel, candidate for Allentown City-County Council At-large, PA
  • Xavier Garcia-Molina, candidate for Lancaster City Council at-large, PA
  • Amanda Bakay, candidate for Lancaster City Council at-large, PA
  • Jaime Arroyo, candidate for Lancaster City Council at-large, PA
  • Jamie Gauthier, candidate for Philadelphia City Council District 3
  • Judy Moore, candidate for Philadelphia City Council District
  • Carlos Garcia, candidate for Phoenix City Council District 8

We have a number of additional endorsees in elections throughout the rest of the year, including a large slate of candidates in this year’s critical statewide elections in Virginia.