Democratic Group Aims To Spend $20 Million Boosting STEM Candidates

314 Action is looking to recruit scientists in a host of Biden-won House districts.

By Kevin Robillard

Mar 14, 2023, 02:27 PM EDT

A group boosting Democratic candidates with a background in science and technology plans to spend $20 million to $25 million on the 2024 elections, the organization’s executive director told HuffPost.

314 Action, which formed after the 2016 elections, is targeting 27 House districts, many of them won by President Joe Biden in 2020 but now held by a Republican, as well as key state-level races in Pennsylvania, Delaware and North Carolina.

“I think we’ve really cracked the code on what makes a great candidate in these [swing] districts,” said Joshua Morrow, 314 Action’s executive director. “It’s going to be our candidates that people want to support.”

The group already has one top-tier recruit in a competitive district: George Whitesides, a former NASA chief of staff and CEO of Virgin Galactic, announced his plans to challenge GOP Rep. Mike Garcia in California’s 27th District, which encompasses a swath of suburbs to the north of Los Angeles.

The 27th is emblematic of many of the districts 314 Action is targeting. While President Joe Biden easily won it in 2020, taking more than two-thirds of the vote, Garcia won reelection by seven percentage points in 2022 after national Democrats struggled to find the resources to air ads in the ultra-pricey Los Angeles media market.

The group is also targeting Delaware’s gubernatorial race, lieutenant governor’s races in North Carolina and Delaware and treasurer races in Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Much of the group’s funding will be spent helping candidates get through competitive primaries. The group backed a host of winning candidates in 2022, including Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly, a former astronaut, and two new House members: Eric Sorensen of Illinois, a meteorologist, and Yadira Caraveo, a pediatrician.

Morrow argues candidates with a background in STEM can appeal to both the Democratic Party’s liberal base and to swing voters, especially as science-based issues like pandemic prevention and climate change grow in importance.

“They’re problem-solvers. Scientists aren’t programmed to argue their facts, they’re programmed to find the facts. Lawyers are taught to argue their facts,” Morrow said. “And I think that makes them able to work across the aisle in a way other politicians can not.”

“During the pandemic, wouldn’t it have been great if we had a president who actually knew about pandemics?” Morrow asked rhetorically. “And wouldn’t it be great if experts could write climate change bills instead of the energy companies?”

Read on Huffington Post.

HILADELPHIA — Today, 314 Action Fund announced its re-endorsement of  Congress members Kim Schrier (WA-08), Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Eric Sorensen (IL-17), Sean Casten (IL-06), Lauren Underwood (IL-14) Chrissy Houlanhan (PA-06) and Melanie Stansbury (NM-01) .

At a time when real action is needed to combat climate change,  enact tougher gun laws to protect innocent Americans and invest in working families, Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and the far right members of congress instead are more interested in peddling conspiracy theories, empowering extremists and denying election outcomes. Americans deserve better.

“Re-electing these 7 members could not be more critical to the lives of everyday Americans ,” Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action, said. “The Republican Leadership has shown us that they are willing to take us to the brink of financial ruin, deny women reproductive rights and destroy the integrity of our Democracy. These districts — including Congresswoman Yadira Caraveo running in CO-08 and Eric Sorenson running in IL-17 — are the most competitive in the country and re-electing them back to congress is a top priority for us.” 

“I’m honored to earn the endorsement of 3.14 Action, an organization that supports people with backgrounds in science who run for office.” Said Kim Schrier. “ 3.14 knows that evidence-based decision making matters, whether we’re talking about healthcare policy, immigration, or which investments have the most positive impact on our constituents. That’s why they support scientists like me – we follow the evidence. Thank you, 3.14!”

“Scientists and those with a STEM background who serve in Congress have the unique ability to help their constituents understand how their government can work for them.” Eric Sorensen said. “I am proud to be working closely with 314 Action, an excellent group that supports STEM candidates up and down the ballot. Their support was crucial in my election last year and will be very important this cycle as I continue working for the people of central and northwest Illinois.”

“I’m honored to have the support of 314 Action. Said Sean Casten. “ Now more than ever, we need more scientists in Congress and they’ve been a partner and ally in our shared mission.”

“I am so proud to be endorsed by 314 Action.” Said Lauren Underwood. “ As a nurse, I know the importance of bringing a science and data driven approach to the work of uplifting our communities, and I look forward to continuing to serve the people of IL-14.”

“I am incredibly grateful to have the endorsement and support of 314 Action.” Said Melanie Stansbury. “As a STEM professional myself, I understand the critical importance of evidence-based solutions and the need for more STEM professionals in political leadership. Together, we will work tirelessly to tackle the challenges facing our nation and ensure a brighter and greener future for all.”

“As our nation’s challenges get more complex, we need public servants who are trained and educated in solving complex, highly dynamic problems.” Said Chrissy Houlahan. “We need more people who make decisions based on data, on science. 314 Action is the only organization deeply committed to making our government work better by increasing the number of STEM professionals elected to office. I am profoundly grateful for their work. I am also profoundly grateful to have had their support in each of my Congressional races and I’m thrilled to be receiving their endorsement again now.”

PHILADELPHIA — Today, 314 Action Fund announced its endorsement of US Senator Martin Heinrich. With a razor thin Democratic majority in the US Senate, re-electing Senator Heinrich is a priority for 314 Action Fund.  First elected to the US Senate in 2012, Heinrich won a competitive reelection campaign in 2018 with 54% of the vote. The 2018 contest pitted Heinrich against Republican Mick Rich and former New Mexico Governor, Libertarian Gary Johnson. 

“Senator Heinrich is a proven problem solver who has championed childcare aid, gun safety legislation and expanding veterans’ health care benefits.” said Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action. “We know Martin and he’s a fighter who has worked across the aisle to solve problems and make real differences in the lives of working families in New Mexico.”

“314 Action understands that tackling some of our nation’s greatest challenges requires science, data, and fact. As an engineer, I couldn’t agree more,” said Martin Heinrich. “I have been proud to partner with 314 Action during my tenure in public office and look forward to continuing our work together to build a future that all New Mexicans can be proud of.”

About Martin Heinrich

Martin serves on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, where he is leading the fight to create jobs, propel our economy into the energy future, and address climate change. On the Armed Services Committee, Martin has worked tirelessly to secure funding and missions for our military installations, invest in the technology and careers of tomorrow, and is dedicated to making sure we keep our promises to our servicemembers and veterans. In his role on the Intelligence Committee, Martin has been a key member of the investigation into Russia’s efforts to interfere in America’s 2016 election and possible collusion between Russia and then-candidate Trump’s presidential campaign. As a ranking member on the Joint Economic Committee, Martin is working to grow rural economies and raise workers’ wages.

PHILADELPHIA — Today, 314 Action Fund announced its endorsement of US Senator Tammy Baldwin. The election in 2012 saw Baldwin become Wisconsin’s first woman senator and the country’s first openly LGBTQ+ senator. Last year, Baldwin gained national attention for helping spearhead a bill protecting the rights of same-sex marriage, which passed in November.

Tammy Baldwin won her 2012 race by nearly 6 percentage points and beat Republican State Sen. Leah Vukmir in 2018 by a decisive 11 percentage points, just two years after Donald Trump had won Wisconsin. Baldwin the support independent voters through her bipartisan legislative approach and her tireless advocacy for Wisconsinites. 

“Tammy Baldwin knows how to win tough races. She is a tireless campaigner and a fearless advocate for Wisconsin,” said Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action. “There has never been a stronger voice fighting to make a difference in the lives of Wisconsin’s working families than Tammy Baldwin. We are proud to stand by her and support her re-election campaign.”

“I’m proud to receive 314 Action’s support for my reelection campaign!” said Tammy Baldwin. “314 Action understands how important factual, science-based approaches are when it comes to creating lasting policy and making decisions that will impact our future. Because of 314 Action’s hard work to elect candidates who are leaders in STEM, I know that our country’s future is bright and we are well-prepared to tackle any challenge that comes our way.”

About Tammy Baldwin 

In the Senate, Senator Baldwin is committed to working across party lines to strengthen the essential pillars of economic security for working families: investments in education and workforce readiness, building a strong Made in Wisconsin manufacturing and agriculture economy, quality health care for all Americans, and protecting the retirement security of today’s seniors and future generations.

Senator Baldwin has also made addressing the student debt crisis and college affordability a top priority. After holding roundtables with students and recent graduates struggling with the cost of a higher education, Senator Baldwin introduced the America’s College Promise Act to make the skills and credentials necessary for success in today’s economy attainable for all Americans, regardless of socio-economic status. Senator Baldwin’s legislation would create new federal-state partnerships to provide two years of tuition-free access to community or technical college programs.

PHILADELPHIA — Today, 314 Action Fund announced its endorsement of US Senator Jacky Rosen, the first computer programmer elected to the Senate. The 2018 election saw Rosen as the only senate challenger to unseat an incumbent Republican in the country, and 314 Action was proud to support her first bid then.

Nevada is one of the most competitive Senate races in the country and Democrats need to win if they want to hold the Senate. While Democrats in Nevada hold a statewide registration edge over Republicans, 32.2% to 29.7%, both trail the 38% who aren’t affiliated with either party. The 2022 election cycle saw Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto eke out a reelection victory over Republican Adam Laxalt, even though the GOP managed to flip the governor’s mansion in the state.

“Nevada is a must win. What happens in Nevada will not stay in Nevada but will impact what happens in the race for the presidency and will decide control of the US Senate,” said Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action. “We know Jacky and we know she is a tough-as-nails fighter who has used her computer programming background to solve problems and work across the aisle to make real differences in the lives of Nevadans. That’s why 314 Action is proud to stand with her again for re-election.”

“As the first former computer programmer in the U.S. Senate, I’m proud to be a champion for STEM education, particularly for young women and girls, and advancing STEM-based solutions to the biggest challenges we face today.” Said Jacky Rosen. “Whether it’s combating the climate crisis or strengthening our cybersecurity, it’s essential that our policymaking is rooted in science, research and evidence rather than partisan politics. I was honored to be one of the first Senate challengers ever to earn 314 Action’s endorsement in 2018, and I’m grateful for their continued support of my reelection campaign so we can continue this important work.”

About Jacky Rosen 

Jacky has been ranked by independent experts as one of the most bipartisan Senators in the chamber. More than 90% of the legislation she has introduced in the Senate is bipartisan, and her commitment to building relationships and working across the aisle has earned her a reputation for making “Republican friends as a way to get things done.”

In 2021, Jacky helped write and pass the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as part of the bipartisan group of Senators who negotiated the final landmark package. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is now delivering thousands of good-paying jobs to our state while fixing Nevada’s roads and highways, modernizing our airports, and making high-speed internet faster and more affordable.

314 Action Endorses Senator Chris Hansen for Denver Mayor

December 28, 2022

PHILADELPHIA–Today, 314 Action Fund announced its endorsement of Senator Chris Hansen in the race for Denver Mayor. With 20 years of experience in the renewable energy field, Senator Hansen has used his background as an engineer to advocate for fact-first policies to solve the complex problems facing Colorado.

Hansen has experience working with renewable energy, as well as governments at every level, to improve their operations. As a state senator, Hansen has focused on managing the state budgeting process and Colorado’s transition to cleaner energy.

“Chris Hansen has dedicated himself to finding the type of creative solutions that Denverites need in city hall,” said Shaughnessy Naughton, president of 314 Action. “His experience in the state Senate and in the private sector gives him the qualifications needed to be an exceptional mayor.” 

In 2022, 314 Action Fund played a pivotal role in electing over two-hundred state and local leaders and flipping three chambers. 314 Action. 314 Action will continue working to elect science leaders and defeat climate deniers in legislatures across the country. Additionally, 314 Action has engaged its base of six million grassroots members to push for pro-science legislation at the federal and state levels. 


314 Action Fund is powered by a grassroots community of over six million people working to elect scientists, doctors, and STEM professionals who will use science and facts to address our most pressing issues like climate change and health care. Since 2018, we have played a pivotal role in flipping the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, electing eleven Democratic scientists to federal office, as well as in helping over 400 statewide, state legislative, and municipal candidates win their races. In 2023, 314 Action Fund will continue working to elect science leaders and defeat climate deniers in Congress and legislatures across the country.


August 22, 2022

Contact: [email protected]

314 Action Fund Endorses 87 STEM Candidates for State Legislative and Municipal Offices

PHILADELPHIA — Today, 314 Action Fund announced its endorsement of forty-seven STEM candidates and incumbents running for state legislative and municipal offices across the United States. These scientists and STEM professionals are running for offices from state senate to school board and are campaigning on a commitment to follow the science and facts central to policymaking in their communities. With the announcement of this slate, 314 Action Fund has endorsed 328 state legislative and municipal STEM candidates this cycle.

Among the newly endorsed legislators are Debra Heffernan (Delaware House District 6) an environmental toxicologist with over 30 years of experience who served on the state’s Hazardous Substances Cleanup Act Advisory Committee to protect Delawareans from pollutants while making the state greener, and Carl Heastie (New York House District 83) the Speaker of the New York Assembly with a background in applied mathematics.

Today’s new slate of endorsements for state legislative and municipal races is as follows:

Billy Beasley, Senate District 28, (Pharmacist)

Laura Hall, House District 19, (Biology Degree)

Mary Moore, House District 59, (Biology Degree)


Denise Garner, House District 20, (Nurse)


Priya Sundareshan, Senate District 18, (Chemical Engineering Degree)

Kathryn Mikronis, Marana Unified School Board, (Chemistry Degree)


Joaquin Arambula, Assembly District 31, (Emergency Physician)

Liz Ames, BART Board, (Civil Engineer)

Susan Santangelo, Camarillo City Council, (Registered Nurse)

Ann Marie Johnson, Dublin San Ramon Services Board, (Chemist)

Marisa Hanson, Evergreen School Board, (Mathematics Degree)

Ahmad Zahra, Fullerton City Council, (Medical Doctor)

William Moorhead, Moulton Niguel Water Board, (Civil & Environmental Engineer)


Saud Anwar, Senate District 3, (Physician)

Patricia Miller, Senate District 27, (Mathematics Degree)

Norm Needleman, Senate District 33, (Mathematics Degree)

Brandon Chafee, House District 33, (Civil Engineer)

Gregory Haddad, House District 54, (Physics Degree)

Jaime Foster, House District 57, (Research Scientist)

Patricia Dillon, House District 92, (Public Health Professional)

Joe Gresko, House District 121, (Environmental Science Degree)

Kevin Ryan, House District 139, (Optometrist)


Deborah Heffernan, House District 6, (Environmental Scientist)


Shevrin Jones, Senate District 34, (Science Teacher)

Sienna Osta, House District 87, (Microbiology Degree)

Felicia Robinson, House District 104, (Mathematics Degree)


John Forbes, House District 44, (Pharmacist)


Crystal Ivie, House District 14A, (Research Scientist)


Nicholas Smith, House District 34, (Chemistry Degree)


Ronald Itnyre, Senate District 27, (Geneticist)

Tonya Pfaff, House District 43, (Math Teacher)

Rita Fleming, House District 71, (OB/GYN)


Kate Turner, House District 33, (Civil & Environmental Engineer)


Jon Santiago, House District 9th Suffolk, (Physician)

Kay Khan, House District 11th Middlesex, (Psychiatric Nurse)

Denise Garlick, House District 13th Norfolk, (Nurse)

Mike Connolly, House District 26th Middlesex, (Computer Science Degree)


Terri Hill, House District 12A, (Surgeon)

Pamela Queen, House District 14, (Computer Science Degree)

Edith Patterson, House District 28, (Biology & Chemistry Degrees)

Arthur Ellis, Senate District 28, (Chemistry Degree)


Tullio Liberati, House District 2, (Biology Degree)

Shadia Martini, House District 54, (Architectural Engineer)

Andrew Spencer, Ann Arbor School Board, (Biochemist)

Jeremy Lapham, Ann Arbor School Board, (Advanced Nurse Practitioner)

Edward Aboufadel, Forest Hills School Board, (Mathematician)

North Carolina

Christine Kelly, House District 37, (Mathematics Degree)

Michelle Price, McDowell County Board of Education, (Environmental Scientist)

Mary Black-Branch, Raleigh City Council, District A, (Environmental Science Degree)

Corey Branch, Raleigh City Council, District C, (Electrical Engineering Degree)

Dan Blue, Senate District 14, (Mathematics Degree)

New Hampshire

Jerry Knirk, House District Carroll 8, (Orthopedic Surgeon)

Michael Abbott, House District Cheshire 6, (Physician)

John Bordenet, House District Cheshire 7, (Software Engineer)

Eamon Kelley, House District Coos 7, (Physics Degree)

James Murphy, House District Grafton 12, (Retired Physician)

Michael Pedersen, House District Hillsborough 9, (Electrical Engineering Degree)

Martin Jack, House District Hillsborough 10, (Software Engineer)

Karen Ebel, House District Merrimack 7, (Biology Degree)

Joan Hamblet, House District Rockingham 26, (Biology Degree)

Mike Edgar, House District Rockingham 29, (Civil Engineer)

Gary Merchant, House District Sullivan 6, (Pharmacist)

New York

Steve Englebright, Assembly District 4, (Natural Scientist)

Carl Heastie, Assembly District 83, (Applied Mathematics Degree)

Karines Reyes, Assembly District 87, (Oncology Nurse)

John McDonald, Assembly District 108, (Pharmaceutical Chemist)

Anna Kelles, Assembly District 125, (Nutritional Epidemiologist)

Karen Beebe, Broome County Legislature, District 12, (Healthcare Professional)


Rachel Baker, House District 27, (Nurse Researcher)

Nabila Babar, Warren County Commissioner, (Physician)


Melissa Provenzano, House District 79, (Organismic Biology Degree)


Janelle Bynum, House District 39, (Electrical Engineering Degree)

Rhode Island

Walter Felag, Senate District 10, (Software Engineer)

Louis DiPalma, Senate District 12, (Computer Engineer)

Alex Kithes, House District 49, (Electrical Engineering Degree)

William O’Brien, House District 54, (Math Teacher)


Sam McKenzie, House District 15, (Physicist)


Josh Tutt, Senate District 18, (Information Technologist)


Christopher Bray, Senate District Addison, (Zoology Degree)

Robin Scheu, House District Addison 1, (Biology Degree)

Trevor Squirrell, House District Chittenden 3, (Conservation Biology Degree)

John Bartholomew, House District Windsor 1, (Veterinarian)


Bill Ramos, House District 5 Position 1, (Forestry Degree)

Eileen Cody, House District 34 Position 1, (Nurse)

Lelach Rave, House District 46 Position 2, (Pediatrician)

Vandana Slatter, House District 48 Position 1, (Pharmacist)

Chipalo Street, House District 37 Position 2, (Computer Scientist)


314 Action Fund is powered by a grassroots community of over six million people working to elect scientists, doctors, and STEM professionals who will use science and facts to address our most pressing issues like climate change and health care. In 2018 and 2020, we played a pivotal role in flipping the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, electing eleven Democratic scientists to federal office, as well as in helping over 100 statewide, state legislative, and municipal candidates win their races. In 2022, 314 Action Fund will continue working to elect science leaders and defeat climate deniers in Congress and legislatures across the country.

NE-02:First General Election Poll Shows Tony Vargas Leading Rep. Don Bacon; Bacon Out of Step on Roe with Constituents

Vargas Leads Bacon 42-39 with Likely Voters; 60% of Voters Surveyed Think Abortion Should Be Legal

PHILADELPHIA — Today, 314 Action Fund released the results of brand new polling that shows State Senator Tony Vargas in an excellent position heading into the general election following his decisive victory in last night’s Democratic primary election in Nebraska.

Key findings from the polling include: 

The poll was fielded from May 6-10, 2022 among 564 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.6%. The toplines can be viewed here

“Dan Bacon’s extremist and dangerous views on reproductive rights are out-of-step with his district,” said Shaughnessy Naughton, President of 314 Action. “But beyond that key issue, it’s clear that Bacon is struggling to stay above water with his constituents. We’re confident that the contrast between the incumbent Representative and State Senator Tony Vargas will be stark – a partisan versus a state leader with a proven track record of cutting through the noise to get bipartisan legislation across the finish line.”