How to Run for Public Office – Tip 9: Make Sure Your Bio is Accurate
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Tip #9. Make sure your bio is accurate.
Don’t embellish you biography. Make sure that the official biography that is posted on your website is dead accurate. If it is not it may come back to haunt you.
A few years ago I was reading about a candidate who claimed to have been a long standing member of a church, and a regular volunteer in the church’s soup kitchen. Except no one at the church could remember ever having seen him in a pew, and the leader of the soup kitchen had never seen him serving soup.
That might not kill a campaign, but when a reporter or oppo researcher uncovers something like that in a candidate’s bio the bells go off. And they start digging. And pretty soon a candidate is answering question about the “holes” and the “exaggerations” in their bio and fielding questions about everything that is in it rather than playing offense.
Don’t do it. Don’t claim accomplishments that are not yours. Or degrees you have not earned. Or awards you did not receive. Or membership in organizations you do not belong to, or to have volunteered for charitable causes where no one saw you.
If it happens, it won’t help to blame a young staffer, for voters will assume you are blaming someone else because you got caught in a lie. And if voters read that you lied about what you have done or places you have been they will assume you are lying about everything. And when they do, your credibility as a candidate is gone.
If you are thinking about becoming a candidate for public office, or if you have made the decision to run, scour your biography at the get go, make sure it is dead accurate and that nothing in it can be subjected to challenge.
Have friends and colleagues ready to verify any claim that you make in your biography, for even if what you say is true, your opponent may suggest that it is not, and on a day when you are busy on the campaign trail, it is a distraction to find the friend who will verify that you helped coach the little league, or that you really received the Lion’s Club award for meritorious service in 1997, or that you really did volunteer and assist in organizing the local science fair.
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.
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