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Democratic National Committee launching campaign school: "Hope Institute"

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WASHINGTON--Back in October, 2005, I wrote about how then Sen. Barack Obama's Hopefund, his leadership PAC, was bankrolling a school to train campaign workers.

Obama's Hopefund--the name foreshadowed a main 2008 presidential campaign slogan--was run at the time by essentially three people: PAC director Nate Tamarin and fund-raisers Jordan Kaplan and Jenny Yeager.

In 2005, Tamarin told me the aim of the campaign school was to ``create this whole class of young, talented staffers who can work their way up in the Democratic Party.''

Fast forward to 2013. Kaplan is now the Democratic National Committee National Finance Director and is the driving force behind DNC's "Hope Institute," being launched today.

The "Institute" will run June 12-14 in Washington and will be an all-expense paid short-course for aspiring political professionals who might be interested in political careers but may not have the connections or experience or formal educational opportunities to get themselves in the game.

"I thought it was important to do some of the things we did well back in the day and I really wanted to start it back up," Kaplan said, telling me about why he wanted to resurrect the Obama campaign school.

The old Obama Hopefund campaign school eventually trained two classes, with about 80 to 100 youths attending--about one-half went on to join the Obama presidential campaign.

In June, the "students" will get briefings on the different political jobs held by campaign professionals--scheduling, advance, communications, polling, fund-raising and--something that did not exist in 2005, the emerging political fields of social media and analytics.

"For two days, Hope Institute attendees will get a crash course in how to break into politics-- learning from some of the folks who helped make our victories in 2012 possible, like senior Obama campaign officials as well as rising stars in Democratic politics," DNC Executive Director Patrick Gaspard said in a message to prospective "students."

In 2005, I wrote that the recruiting focus of Obama's ``Yes We Can'' campaign school program was young African Americans and Latinos. In 2013, the DNC campaign school will also be looking for a diverse group to build up the Democratic bench.

For more information:

Tamarin and Yeager went on to Obama White House careers--and Kaplan and Yeager ended up getting married.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on May 10, 2013 12:05 PM.

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