Rural Power Lab

Rural Power Lab, a project of Contest Every Race, was formed in fall 2021.

We’re a rurally-focused experimental support program incubated at Movement Labs that partners with State and Local Democratic Parties to provide an additional layer of resources, training, and support for rural local Democratic Parties.

In 2021, we successfully piloted our program in KS, MT, VA, and WI with 70+ rural Democratic county parties and were well received and rated by county chairs and members. In 2022 we grew our program in these states and added AZ and MI and granted $116,000. In 2023, dependent on fundraising, we hope to grant $500,000.

As we reflect on a strong finish in the midterms, it’s undeniable that rural voters and organizing made a difference in both local and statewide races in battleground states. With support from our grant program, county parties revealed the makings of a blue spine that cuts through what was once thought to be deep red territory. 


165,068 doors knocked in the hardest-to-reach, rural counties

2,878 votes multiplied

$134,500 granted to 82 local county parties (2021-2022)

231 events with 3,576 attendees


Your program has given us what we needed: access to new concepts, training for outreach, messaging through texts, and the cash necessary to implement the programs we have instituted through your program. Our progress has taken off at a much faster pace than we could have ever expected - Bill Crawford, Waushara County, WI

Invitation To Apply

This program has been great for Montana and brought a lot of our central committees together in a way we have not been before - Butte-Silver Bow, MT

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2023 Grant Outreach Toolkit

Our Partners

Program Design Committee Members

Organizational affiliations provided for identification purposes only. 

  • Co-Chair, Secky Fascione, Democracy Alliance
  • Advisor, George Goehl, People’s Action

Party Leadership

  • Ken Martin – President, Association of State Democratic Committees; Chair, MN Democratic Party
  • Brad Martin – President, Association of State Democratic Executive Directors; ED, OR Democratic Party
  • Lavora Barnes – Chair, MI Democratic Party
  • Ben Wikler – Chair, WI Democratic Party
  • Tina Podlodowski – Former Chair, WA Democratic Party
  • Vicki Hiatt – Former Chair, KS Democratic Party
  • Tom Sullivan – Former County Party Chair, Author
  • Mary Gonzalez – Rural TX State Rep, Chair of TX Mexican American Caucus
  • Kelly Dietrich & Jocelyn Hunt – National Democratic Training Committee
  • Nate Timm – Chair, WI Democratic Party Rural Caucus
  • Ben Meers – Former ED, KS Democratic Party
  • Bill Crawford – Multi-County Coordinator, WI Rural Counties
  • Ethan Smith – Blue Bench Project Coordinator, MT Democratic Party
  • Simon Hargus – Vice Chair, Wood County Democratic Committee (WV)
  • Rachel Byrne – Co-Chair, Monongalia County Democratic Party (WV)
  • Mary Darling – Dir. of Party Affairs, AZ Dem Party

Progressive & Rural Leadership

  • Sarah Jaynes – Rural Democracy Initiative
  • Wanda Mosely – Field Director, Black Voters Matter
  • Isaac Wright – Rural Voter Institute
  • Stephen Smith & Katey Laurer – West Virginia Can’t Wait
  • Heather Booth & Mike Lux – Democracy Partners
  • Delinda Bryant – Albany, GA Voters Coalition
  • Meredith Dean – Appalchian Women of Action (VA)
  • Judy Hertz – Former ED, Midwest Academy
  • Dreama Caldwell & Brigid Flaherty – EDs, Down Home NC
  • Jesse Ferguson – Consultant & Democratic Strategist

Experimental and Program Design

  • Pete Backof – Camden Strategy
  • Aaron Strauss – OpenLabs, former Analyst Institute Executive Director