Running for office in the next year or two? A checklist of 7 items you should do NOW, and the price you’ll pay if you don’t.
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If you are planning on running for office in the next year or two, this video offers a checklist of 7 items you should do now as you prepare for your campaign. All of them are items that must be done, easier to do now than later. And as you’ll see, there is a price to pay if you wait until the campaign has started to do them. As the title says, these are things to do now.
Number one is update your resume. Make sure it is dead on accurate. The schools you attended, degrees you earned, jobs you have held, the awards you’ve won, the organizations you have served.
There will be occasions during the campaign when you are asked to furnish a copy of it. Do not, under any circumstance, embellish or exaggerate what you have done, or claim degrees you have not earned. If you do you will get caught.
Number two is have a conversation about your plans with your spouse, children and loved ones about running for office. Campaigns take time. There are sacrifices involved. The demands on your schedule will grow exponentially. You won’t always be home for dinner. Your weekend leisure time will become non-existent.
Ideally you want your family involved and to be part of the effort. If your family is not on board, or if your partner is adamantly against the idea, your life as a candidate will be a hellish and miserable existence.
Be sure to talk with your spouse or partner about the financial sacrifices involved. It is OK to invest your own money, and miss work if you can afford it, but do not put at risk money that your family needs to maintain their standard of living.
Number three is get in the habit of being well informed and up to date about current events in your state and jurisdiction. For most candidates running for office, that means reading the daily/weekly newspapers in their jurisdiction, and making it a habit to do it early every day. The people you encounter on the campaign trail, and the opinion leaders of influencers you speak with before the campaign begins will not take you seriously if you are clueless about what is happening in your state or community.
Number four is become familiar with the responsibilities of the office you seek, and the decision-making power you’ll have if you win the election. Voters, opinion leaders and reporters you meet will expect you to know that, and they won’t take you seriously if you don’t.
For example, if you are running for city council or Mayor of a city, you should know the size of the city budget, where the revenue comes from and how money is spent. The number of people employed by the city, and the size of each department. You’re decision making power affects all of those items. If you are running for Congress, you’ll be expected to be conversant on foreign policy, the budget, the deficit, health care, social programs, defense spending, entitlement programs, and trade policy. You’ll be casting votes on all of these issues.
Number five is make a list of problems you’d like to fix, things you would like to accomplish, what you would like to do to improve the standard of living for people in your jurisdiction, or programs you would like to create. For each, do your homework, and figure out HOW you are going to do the things you want to do.
It isn’t enough to spout platitudes and feel good slogans in a campaign. If you can’t tell voters how you are going to fix a problem, they will conclude that you aren’t all that serious about solving it.
Number six is assemble a brain trust. A small core group of the smartest people you know. People you can trust, people who will serve as a sounding board, give you feedback on your ideas, your platform, tell you the truth even when truth is hard, and start meeting with them periodically. If you don’t know any smart people, meeting a few needs to be one of your top priorities.
Number seven is study your jurisdiction. You should know the names of other elected officials, and become intricately familiar with the demographics of those who live in your jurisdiction. Income, education level, ethnicity, religious affiliation, race, households with children, age distribution, partisan affiliation, past election turnout. Smart candidates running for office also study how the demographic profile of their jurisdiction is trending and how it has changed over the past 10 years.
Before I go, I’ll add one more to this list. If you have been active on social media, take a look at your past posts and make sure that nothing you’ve said will come back to haunt you; that nothing you have posted can easily be taken out of context. You can assume this. In a competitive election, your opponent will be looking at every post you’ve made, every word you’ve said, everything you have retweeted. If a post poorly reflects on you, your character or judgment, best that it be deleted before your opponent finds it.
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.
Click on Complete this Application, answer a few questions so that I am prepared for our call, and I’ll then be in touch to schedule a conversation within 24 hours. THE CALL IS FREE!
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.