Hoping to build its bench, Dem group to hold free training for candidates and campaign staff in Fort Myers
500 guests are expected to gather for the outdoor breakfast.

Florida Democratic Party
The National Democratic Training Committee is offering the open event.

The National Democratic Training Committee (NDTC) is offering a free training session for Democratic candidates, staff and local leaders at an event this Saturday in Fort Myers.

That training is part of the NDTC’s Blue Bench program aimed at preparing Democrats for the upcoming 2020 election.

“We teach them everything from how to use their personal experiences to communicate with voters about the change they want to make in their community,” said Kelly Dietrich, NDTC’s founder and CEO.

“We talk to them about how to best target and build a field plan so that you know exactly which voters to talk to.”

Individuals can also learn how to run digital and fundraising operations for a campaign at the event.

Saturday’s Blue Bench training will be the NDTC’s very first session of 2020. An event in Indianapolis will take place the same day.

Those looking to attend can register at the NDTC website. The training will take place at Florida SouthWestern State College.

Dietrich launched his group back in 2016 to provide free training to any Democrat that wants it. Dietrich says his group is aiming to lower the barrier of entry for those looking to enter the world of politics.

The Blue Bench training is separate from the NDTC’s Staff Academy training, which is a more intensive, 10-week program.

“People have to apply,” Dietrich said of the Staff Academy training. “It’s a competitive program.”

The second class of Staff Academy started this past week. Saturday’s training in Fort Myers, conversely, is open to any interested Democrat.

Dietrich says his group is hoping to hold between six and 10 Blue Bench events throughout Florida this year.

That would be an increase from the NDTC’s efforts in Florida in previous years. The organization held three such trainings in 2018 and two Blue Bench sessions in 2019.

At least one of those trainings was held in each of the 50 states last year. Dietrich wants to repeat that feat and bring the total number of events up to 130 or more in 2020.

And he says in doing this work, there are signs Democrats could repeat their successes from 2018.

“We are seeing, from all of our work in all 50 states, the potential for another blue wave,” Dietrich said. “And we say that because we saw the wave of 2018 coming just in the sheer number of people who attended these trainings. That number hasn’t gone down. If anything, that number has gone up.”

The open sessions aren’t the only work Deitrich’s group will be doing in Florida this year. He says they’ll be looking to aid the Florida Democratic Party as well.

“We are assisting the Florida Democratic Party in training their 24 field organizers,” Dietrich added.

“These are the people that work for the party and their task is to help turn out Democrats across the state because 2020 is such an important year.”

Ryan Nicol

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to [email protected].


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