A political newcomer becomes a Mayor. What he did. How he did it, to win an election.

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Today a short story that has a happy ending, one that is very relevant to you, or anyone who plans to run for office and win and election.

Mike Absher. How 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 that he 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 not familiar with how to run a citywide election. He had some ideas on what he wanted to do, but was not quite sure 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 the course of 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 starting planning his announcement speech.

Although he didn’t know the political players, there were a lot of 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 invited 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 rescue 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 speech on Facebook. It was shared more than a thousand times, and viewed by more than 20,000 people. Soon everyone in the community was talking about him, his campaign and the hope he was giving to a city hungry for some 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 spent time going 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 more than 50% of the vote in a 4-way race.


If you’ve watched the videos posted on this website and on 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.

New Facebook Group- For Candidates Who Want to run for office and Win an Election

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.

Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.

How to win an election:

Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.

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