One thing that seems to hold true about any position of leadership is the number of armchair critics that think they can do better the current elected official. Throughout the levels of government, whether city, county, state, or federal positions, citizens from all walks of life are often given the change to run for office. The process may be complicated and expensive, depending on what position you want to pursue, but one wonderful element of democracy is the ability to serve the country and try to make a change. If you have considered getting involved in public service, here is what you should know about running for office.
Decide on the Right Race
If you are disgruntled with the politicians that represent you or your interest, there are a lot of different races that you could jump into to make a change. However, not all elected offices hold the same authority, have the same voting schedules, or have an even playing field. For instance, consider your potential opponents. Statistically, over 90% of incumbents keep their position at election time until their term limit is achieved. It is an uphill battle to break into a race against someone who has long held their position. If the seat is open, you enjoy much better odds of being elected. You also need to worry about the geography of where you choose to run. Whether it be for school board, a county judge appointment like the campaign Judge Michael Tawil, or a Congressional seat bid, you should know the area where you will focus your campaign and any potential connections you may in the area to help your candidacy. You should also work with a political consultant for a more in-depth analysis of the data. There is also a concern with financing, as the bigger the race, the more money you will need to have in order to be competitive. Local races are the most affordable, and many grass-roots advertising and stumping opportunities can garner significant interest and results.
Gather Your Network
You are going to need the help of just about everyone you know if you want a good shot at getting elected. You can’t just assume people are ready to vote for change when it means they are choosing a complete stranger. You will need to develop a network of contacts that can help get your platform and person out into the community. The best way to start the foundation is a digital contact database complete with email addresses. You should have every friend, family member, coworker, acquaintance, business associates, teacher, church member, doctor, dentist, or individual you know on the list. Go through the list and look at the potential roles that an individual may be suited for in your campaign and notate the entry. You aren’t just looking for donations. You need volunteers to pass out flyers, collect signatures, send out letters, or make phone calls. You will need financial support as well, so making a guess at what a person may be able to donate can you get started with fund planning.
Get Your Name Out There
One sound piece of advice from past council members is to make up 5,000 business cards and personally hand them out to people in your district. This puts you in contact with 5,000 potential voters. Though this is a time to start putting your name in the streets, you get the opportunity to talk to the people you will be serving. Find out their fears or desires for the region. You can establish your platform or use your time in office to address the needs or concerns of your constituents.
Your run for office will be a failure if you don’t have a sound strategy. Don’t forget the elections are about the people, so make your move where people are ready for a new beginning.