How to Run for Public Office – Tip 7 : The Importance of Knowing Your Opponent’s Team

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Tip #7. Know your opponent’s Team.

In the run for public office, you may have once heard me say that every campaign has a unique strategy. Because the strategy of any campaign is always determined by the political environment, the resources of the candidate and the opponent.

But there is an ugly truth about the people who advertise themselves as consultants to political candidates. Some of them are lazy. They don’t always do their homework. Instead of crafting a unique strategy, they blow the dust off the file of a campaign they did a few years back and try to pound square pegs into round holes.

But even the best of consultants have habits and tactics they employ in order to gain a competitive edge for their clients. Which is why you need to know the team that surrounds the opponent you face in an election. It’s a lesson first taught by Sun Tzu in a book entitled the Art of War, a timeless work that is must reading for anybody who is involved in political combat.

What to look for when you are examining the team of your opponent?

Look at other campaigns they have done, talk to people they have worked against so that you know how they operate and what is in their playbook. All consultants have a playbook and a certain way of doing things.

Look at their TV ads. Listen to their radio ads. Track down the mail pieces they used. The reporters they use to disseminate information. The discipline of the candidates they worked for. Their use of oppo research. The kind of campaigns they ran for well funded, as opposed to ill-funded candidates. Slogans they have used for clients. The negative ads they’ve done. When and how they spent the advertising budget of their clients…did they try to run up the score early in the campaign or did they unload everything during the final stages of the campaign.

In other words, know their habits, their patterns and spend real time studying their tactics. In so doing, you will be better prepared and able to better anticipate the kind of tactics you will face in your race.

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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