Entering the Race
A politician thinks of the next election; a statesman thinks of the next generation – James Freeman Clarke
So, you’ve conquered your fear of running for office. You’ve decided which campaign appeals most to you. The time has come to step up.
You only have one obstacle: You need to know how to run.
Luckily, getting started in politics is less clandestine than it might appear and the start can be broken down into four simple steps.
Step One: Announce Your Intent
You’re running for office! Now you need to get the word out. How to do it is up to you.
Some candidates throw large parties and invite community leaders to try their famous bar-b-que ribs. Others prefer to announce at local party meetings when the floor is turned over to prospective candidates.
Whatever you choose, start building your game plan and buy a comfortable pair of shoes. You’re going to need them.
Step Two: Register with the PDC
The Public Disclosure Commission is the state agency dedicated to regulating political funds. Founded by voter initiative back in 1972, the PDC mandates that candidates must register with the commission within two weeks of announcing their intent to run. Filing is easy and can be done online.
You’ll want to read up on campaign contribution limits on their website, or become close friends with somebody who knows the ins and outs of the system. Asking around at your local meetings is a good place to start.
Step Three: File to Run
Mark on your calendar the date when the filing period opens. You can file online at your county or state website depending on where you live and what level of office you’re seeking. This gets your name on the ballot and makes your run for office official.
Step Four: Build your campaign
If you haven’t already, find a campaign manager. Your local party should have a list of names of people who have experience and have built careers around helping people win.
To be compliant with PDC filings, open a bank account to manage your campaign funds and have a place to deposit those donations you’ll be asking for.
Find a creative friend and get to work designing your campaign signs and literature. Check with your party to find the closest union printers to get these done.
Mark your calendar when party endorsement meetings are being held so you can speak on your own behalf
Lastly, get out among the people. Tell your family, friends, and neighbors that you’ve got work to do because the primary will be here before you know it.
Running for office can and will be rewarding thanks to all those people you’re going to meet who will be supporting you during and after the race. While it might seem daunting to a political newcomer, hopefully this article has helped to break the process into simple, easy steps.
As Democrats, we value continuing education. In Part Five, the last article in this series, I will address resources you can access to help step up your game.