College Democrats

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College Democrats are organizations on many college campuses, working to elect Democratic Party candidates and provide networking and leadership opportunities for student members. The chapters have served as a way for college students to connect with the Democratic Party and Democratic campaigns and has produced many prominent liberal and progressive activists.

Many of these chapters are organized under the College Democrats of America, the official youth outreach arm of the Democratic National Committee, which claims over 100,000 college and university student members from across the United States. Other chapters are organized under the Young Democrats of America and its College Caucus.


President Barack Obama, then a candidate in the Democratic Presidential Primary, addresses the 2007 CDA National Convention

Immediately leading up to election day, chapters are expected to participate in get out the vote (GOTV) activities, both on-campus and in surrounding communities.

Other activities are not centrally determined and thus vary from chapter to chapter. Typical activities might include inviting guest speakers (often elected officials or party activists) to campus, organizing issue advocacy and lobbying efforts (like letter-writing campaigns or phone banks), and arranging service activities for members to attend.

College Democrats chapters also often organize social events (like sporting competitions with College Republicans chapters) and other recruitment activities.

During the election season, campus chapters typically partake in campaign work. These efforts generally include voter registration drives and dorm storms to register youth voters that have just gained voter eligibility. They also include providing youth manpower to campaigns for canvassing and phone banks. During presidential years, chapters have organized proxy debates and run mock elections.

Presidential Primaries[edit]

Many chapters of the College Democrats took part in the 2016 Democratic Primary between Secretary Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT). In the run-up to the campaign's launch, many students participated in Ready for Hillary PAC's efforts to build support for Clinton. The statewide organization in California actively supported the PAC and recruited supporters while many chapters hosted the PAC's Hillary Bus on their campuses to build support for Clinton.[1][2]

Notable College Democrats[edit]

Name Notability Campus
Madeleine Albright former United States Secretary of State Wellesley College
Bryce Bennett member, Montana House of Representatives University of Montana
Evan Bayh former U.S. Senator from Indiana
Howard Berman former U.S. Representative from California University of California, Los Angeles
Edward Casso former member, Colorado House of Representatives University of Colorado Boulder
David Cicilline U.S. Representative from Rhode Island Brown University
Mark B. Cohen member, Pennsylvania House of Representatives University of Pennsylvania
Lee Fang investigative journalist University of Maryland, College Park
Kirsten Gillibrand U.S. Senator from New York
David J. Hale United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky
Marina Keegan author, playwright, and journalist Yale University
Chris Kelly former Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook
John F. Kennedy Jr. son of President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy Brown University
Amy Klobuchar U.S. Senator from Minnesota Yale University
Paul Krekorian member, Los Angeles City Council
Matt Lesser former member, Connecticut State Senate Wesleyan University
Scooter Libby former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney Yale University
Marko Liias member, Washington State Senate Georgetown University
Bari Lurie non-profit executive at the Clinton Foundation George Washington University
Seth Magaziner General Treasurer of the State of Rhode Island
Terry McAuliffe Governor of Virginia and former chair of the Democratic National Committee Catholic University of America
Jonathan Miller former Kentucky State Treasurer
John E. Moss former U.S. Representative from California and California State Assembly Majority Leader
Glenn Nye former U.S. Representative from Virginia Georgetown University
Nancy Pelosi U.S. Representative from California and Democratic Leader, Speaker of the House Trinity Washington University
Dan Pfeiffer former senior advisor to President Barack Obama Georgetown University
Hannah Pingree former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives
Mark Pocan U.S. Representative from Wisconsin University of Wisconsin–Madison
Jason Rae member, Democratic National Committee Marquette University
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin former U.S. Representative from South Dakota
Brad Sherman U.S. Representative from California
Eric Swalwell U.S. Representative from California
Levar Stoney Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia James Madison University
Mark Takano U.S. Representative from California Harvard University
Jesse M. Unruh former speaker of the California State Assembly and State Treasurer
Mark Warner U.S. Senator from Virginia
Steve Warnstadt former member, Iowa Senate Drake University
Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Chair of the Democratic National Committee and U.S. Representative from Florida University of Florida
Henry Waxman U.S. Representative from California
Nan Whaley Mayor of Dayton, Ohio

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "CA Young Democrats on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2016-01-11.
  2. ^ "Penn State College Democrats Host Ready for Hillary Bus".