If you plan on running for office in the next year or two, now is the time to start preparing. The questions you should ask yourself at the outset of a campaign.
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Today begins a series for those who are planning on running for office in the next year or two. Many cities and counties will hold important elections for Mayor, County Executive and council seats in 2021. For those who are serious about running for Governor, U.S. Senate or Congress in 2022, now is the time to begin preparing.
The process begins with you, a pen, a notebook. Start by asking yourself some questions. The very first is Why You?
What about your biography qualifies you to do the job, to speak on behalf of those you want to represent? What experiences prepared you for the task at hand, or gives you special insight on what must be done to make life better for those in your jurisdiction? What have you done that proves you care about your community?
Do not assume that a long biography is required before running for office. Most important is that you have done something that proves you have your feet on the ground, and that you’ve done nothing that might disqualify you in the eyes of the voters.
What about your values, your notions of right and wrong, good and evil, make you a good fit for the office you seek? What about your moral code and notions of leadership make you a person that voters can trust? What values and fundamental beliefs do you hold to be sacred – ones that you cannot and will not compromise?
What about your story proves that voters can trust you to make decisions on their behalf? Was there a time in your life that you saw something, heard something, experienced something that changed the way you think, the way you behave or what you believe – something that proves to voters they never have to worry about your fidelity to them, or causes that you say you hold dear?
How are you going to improve the quality of life for those in your jurisdiction? What wrongs will you right? What injustices will you correct? What policy initiatives will you support? What laws will you change to make life better in your community, state or country?
Is there a cause you want to champion, a new program you want to pursue that will make a difference? How are you going to do what you say you will?
Finally, ask yourself why voters should pick you instead of your opponent. What can you say that your opponent can’t say or won’t say? What will you do that your opponent won’t? What difference will you make that your opponent could have made but didn’t?
You may not be able to answer all of these questions in one sitting. Or by yourself. Sometimes it is helpful to talk to others about what they see in you that you may not. Or a mentor who knows what questions to ask so that you better understand yourself.
Regardless, these are questions that deserve an answer if you plan on running for office. The better your answers, the more complete your answers, the better your chances of winning an election.
If you are running for office now, or plan to run for office someday, and are looking for some help in your campaign, I’d be happy to speak with you.
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.