A political newcomer becomes a Mayor. What he did. How he did it, to win an election.
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Today is a short story with a happy ending, very relevant to you or anyone who plans to run for office and win an election. Meet Mike Absher. Last fall, I received a call from Mike. He told me that he wanted to run for Mayor of a city in southern Illinois but faced a few challenges. He had never been involved in city hall politics and therefore did not know any of the political movers and shakers in the city.
Although he’d served on the school board, he was unfamiliar with running a citywide election. He had some ideas on what he wanted to do but was unsure how to communicate his vision. He knew he needed to tell a story that let voters know he
was sincere, but was not sure how to do it.
He was running against a sitting Mayor who, most thought, would be reelected. And yet another candidate who was a long-time member of the City Council and considered a strong contender.
I worked with Mike over several weeks to help him with his message. We had long conversations about his life, his background, and during those calls, he told me about important events in his life that changed the way he felt, changed the way he thought, changed his point of view.
We then started planning his announcement speech.
Although he didn’t know the political players, there were many people he did know. Family. Friends. People he had done business with, people he had served with in service organizations, people in his church.
He invited the people he knew, and they, in turn, asked others. Four hundred people came to his announcement to hear what he had to say.
He spoke about what he wanted to do to rescue a community that had fallen on hard times. He told a story about what he’d learned trying to save a once failing school system, how that experience forever changed the way he thought about public schools, and the impact it had on the children in his community.
Nearly every one of the 400 people who attended his speech volunteered to help in his campaign. He posted the address on Facebook. It was shared over a thousand times and viewed by over 20,000 people. Soon everyone in the community talked about him, his campaign, and the hope he was giving to a city hungry for inspiration and leadership.
Throughout the campaign, Mike offered a positive vision for what he thought the City could be—how to rescue a dying mall, bring new businesses to the downtown area, create new jobs in a community going through hard times, and clean up some neighborhoods that had fallen into disrepair.
He went door to door, held town meetings, invited the public, and was always well-prepared for his television, radio, and newspaper interviews.
On April 2, the people of Marion had their say. Mike won the election, getting over 50% of the vote in a 4-way race.
If you’ve watched the videos posted on this website and my YouTube channel, you’ve heard me talk about the 5 strategic steps to victory to win an election:
- Why you Must Commit to Integrity at the outset of a Campaign.
- Why you must First Tell Voters What You’ll Do for Them
- How to Use Your Secret Weapon: Your Story
- How to Enlist Your Network
- Why you must Invest in Coaching
What Mike did, you can do.
If you are running for office now, or plan to soon and would like to join our Facebook group, you’ll find the link here.
It’s a group for candidates who want to advance a worthy cause using civilized discourse in the marketplace of ideas. A place where you can get help with your campaign, get quick answers to any question you have, so that you can win an election and make a difference.
Come join the discussion.