This will be a series of blog posts that will explore simple How to steps for political campaigns.
It will not be overly comprehensive or detailed, but it will take discuss the major steps that a potential candidate will need to go through.
Step 1. Make the decision to explore
We wrote an earlier blog post entitled ‘first time candidate checklist‘. While we wrote it specifically for the first time candidate, we still think the process has merit.
You need to take inventory of your life before you make this decision, and you need to discuss it with any and all significant others in your life. The time on the campaign trail can be lonely and without your support group, it can be miserable.
Step 2. Political Research
How does the district you are considering running in perform? Look at the past 3 elections cycles.
Start to rough out a budget. Can you raise enough resources to compete and win? On of the bigger mistakes we see, is a candidate basis their campaign budget on what the candidate before them spent – normally a losing campaign. If you don’t know how much things cost, call a political consultant for some rough pricing. If you can’t find a consultant, contact us.
What are the campaign finance rules governing your election? Florida’s Campaign Finance Laws (note please check all jurisdictions that are applicable to your potential election - federal, state, county, and local laws)
Is there an incumbent? Can you make a case of why the incumbent should be fired and you hired? (HINT: If not, reconsider)
Take inventory of the current political climate? If you have the resources consider a poll (please, check first with your campaign laws).
What other campaigns will be happening at the same time that will shape the climate?
What are the important dates of the election(s) , qualifying deadlines, financial reports, etc. Do these cause you any headaches?
Any special considerations? For example, is there a resign to run law in your jurisdiction?
Step 3. Make the decision to run or NOT run
Once you have completed your research, starting roughing out a written campaign plan.
- CLIMATE OVERVIEW
- FINANCIAL BUDGET
- PEOPLE BUDGET
Then read it, step back, and go for a walk. At this time, you may decide you have higher priorities then serving the public.
At this time, you may just decide that this is not the right time for you.
That is okay at this point. True, you are going to be out the time you invested; however, you haven’t accepted contributions or invested money.
NOTE: Please, don’t skip these steps.
Even if your uncle is a Congressman and will personally take you to meet your party’s congressional campaign committee, you will still need to be able to discuss a rough plan of how you can win the district.
You don’t want to be the candidate that just shows up or starts calling people saying “I’m running for office” (please don’t be that person!)
When to talk to a political consultant?
We do get asked this all the time. When do I bring in a political consultant? We personally like to be involved sooner than later, but we also love it when a candidate approaches us with at least a minimum understanding of the potential undertaking. That is when we know it is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
Next Steps to plan a campaign
If you decide to move one with planning a political campaign, congratulations, it is time for the next steps.