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Science advocacy group launches New Hampshire candidate recruitment program

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A science advocacy organization is launching a new candidate recruitment program in New Hampshire aimed at encouraging more individuals from science fields to run for state office. 

The group, 314 Action, told The Hill it is working with the Democratic data firm Target Smart, as well as other vendors, to comb through potential state-level candidates in the Granite State. Additionally, 314 Action plans on partnering with the New Hampshire-based progressive group 603 Forward to reach out to potential candidates in more than 60 state House districts through digital, direct mail, phone banking and SMS efforts. 

On Friday, 314 Action began running ads in New Hampshire highlighting the need to elect candidates with science backgrounds at all levels of government, including statehouses, school boards and county commissions. 

The effort comes as the group celebrates its five-year anniversary on March 14, Pi Day. The group says it has collectively raised more than $36 million since its inception and has endorsed 457 candidates. 

“We have been endorsing down-ballot races, but most of our one-on-one resources went to federal and statewide campaigns,” said 314 Action’s founder, Shaughnessy Naughton, referring to the group’s past work. “But recognizing that there are over half a million non-federally election positions in the country, we have been trying to find creative solutions for being able to scale the program to elect scientists in those down-ballot, state-[legislature], and municipal races.” 

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, 314 Action has seen an increase in candidates coming from the science and medical fields voicing their interest in running for office. Naughton, who is also a former congressional candidate, told The Hill the group is hoping to expand the program going into the 2023 off-year elections and 2024 presidential cycle.

“It is such a large state legislature that we can run a lot of tests in this year to then be able to scale the program to other states,” Naughton said. 

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