Are You Ready to Run for Political Office?

To the Editor:

As a professional political consultant, many would-be candidates come to me and say, “I want to run for office.”  My response to them is always the same… “are you sure?”

Now, it may seem odd that I ask that question, given that my income is dependent on new candidates running for office and hiring our firm to help them win.  But the truth is, I’ve worked with a number of candidates that shouldn’t have been running in the first place, and it’s hard on them, and hard on their staff and consulting team… and usually, it’s nearly impossible for them to win.

Before throwing your hat in the ring, ask yourself the following questions:

1.  Is my family behind me?

If your family (wife, kids, other family members you are close to) do not support your run for office, you’re going to have a real uphill battle to win.  Campaigns take time and hard work, and are very stressful.  Did I mention they take time?  Your campaign will keep you away from your family for extended periods and make you tired and stressed out.  If your family didn’t want you to run in the first place, well… let’s just say the dinner table won’t be a fun place, and that angst will spill over into your performance on the campaign trail.

2.  Am I willing to work really hard?

Despite what the media would have you think, running for office isn’t easy.  Campaigning isn’t all about being on TV and going to nice fundraising dinners (and even if it was, those get tedious real fast).  It’s about giving speeches… hundreds of them, to groups of 10 or 20 people, day in and day out.  Usually, it’s the exact same speech you’ve given over and over again.  Running for office is about making phone calls… dozens of them every day, to ask for money, hear people complain, thank your supporters, and to just listen.  When you campaign, you’ll be in the car (or on a plane) for hours a day, shake thousands of hands, and nod your head and smile for 30 out of every 60 minutes.  Are you ready to work hard?

3.  Am I willing to ask people for money?

Nobody likes to fundraise, and I mean nobody.  Sure, some people get good at it (or at least comfortable with it), but very few people would choose fundraising for their campaign as a way to spend their day.  Unfortunately, running for office takes money.  If you don’t have lots of money to put into your own campaign, you’re going to have to ask others to donate it to your effort.  The only real way to do that in a local campaign is for the candidate (that’s you!) to ask.  Your staff, fundraising consultant, and wife can’t do it for you.

Are you willing to get on the phone and ask your friends, family, and those guys you used to hang out with in college to donate money to your campaign?  Are you willing to utter the words, “Will you give $2,000?” and really mean it?  Fundraising is an integral part of every campaign, and the candidate is the fundraiser-in-chief.

If you have good ideas and want to change the direction of your town, city, county, state, or country, you can and should run for office.  But be prepared, and know what you’re getting into.  Use the questions above to make sure that you’re ready to run for office, and then get out there and get started!

Joe Garecht

Joe Garecht is the founder of Local Victory, a website which offers hundreds of free articles and tips on winning elections.

A respected political consultant and seminar speaker who has been advising campaigns for over a decade, Joe is the author of several books including The Complete Guide to Getting Your Campaign off the Ground. Click here to learn more or get your copy today.

He started Local Victory to make sure that every campaign, no matter how small, had the tools and information it needs to win. Visit the site to download a free copy of Local Victory’s special report How to Get the Press to Cover Your Campaign. Click here to learn more or get your copy today.

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