Alexis Frank, 26, a biracial mother of two living with her husband, an active-duty Marine, at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, said she cried after the election of Donald Trump. Prior to Trump’s campaign, Frank hadn’t considered herself political. But a few days after attending the Women’s March on Washington in January, Frank posted to Facebook to share a stark realization: “I care about this country way more than I ever thought I did, and it might be high time that I started working towards putting that care into action.”
In late February, Frank’s inspiration turned to action. After watching a YouTube video by 34-year-old freelance photographer Frankie Norstad about combatting Trump in the legislature, Frank contacted her to say that she would be willing to run in the special elections being held in South Carolina’s District 5. The district’s incumbent congressman, Freedom Caucus founding member Mick Mulvaney, had left his post after being named as Trump’s new director of the Office of Management and Budget. At the time, the only candidates running to replace him were Republicans.
With help from Norstrad, Frank began meeting with local progressive groups such as Rock Hill Rising, a mostly female group started by Brittany Kelly, a 33-year-old interior designer, and other friends after they returned from the Women’s March. Despite Frank’s total lack of political experience, Kelly recalled, she quickly won over the group. Soon she was making allies online as well — after private Facebook group Pantsuit Nation took note of her candidacy, Frank was able to raise $40,000 for her campaign. For the first time, she had the funds to hire her own political consultants.
“We started to realize, ‘Holy shit, we’re starting to get somewhere,’” Kelly recalled. “And we’re just a bunch of moms who have no fricken’ clue what we’re doing!”
Frank ultimately lost the Democratic primary to Archie Parnell, a 66-year-old first-time candidate who had formerly worked for Goldman Sachs and ExxonMobil. But already, she says, people are talking to her about her next political move.
“I can’t go back to being a stay-at-home mom,” said Frank. “I know that much.”
Read the full story at New York magazine.