Thinking about running for office?
Stop, before you even think about the next steps, the first thing you must do is gauge your ‘winnability’ factor. This is a crucial step because it will ultimately become the basis of your campaign strategy. And if you don’t think you can win, then chances are the voters won’t either.
So let’s assume you think you can win. Now what? Obviously, you must first strategically assemble your team, define a well-thought out, solid campaign strategy and then recruit as many supporters and volunteers as possible.
What’s next? Here are some helpful areas to focus on when you are trying to win a local election:
Create voter awareness and gain their trust
One proven scientific measure for whether candidates are ideal combine awareness and trust. Conduct surveys to find answers to these factors prior to the kickoff of your campaign.
As a candidate, always strive to be authentic. Voters are not fans of political candidates who appear artificial. The public wants to vote for someone who seems genuine, and not someone who is playing a role. If the voters think you are putting on a show to get elected, they’ll wonder what you may be hiding or holding back.
Don’t be shy
If you don’t define yourself from the very start, your opponent may do it for you. Get out early in the campaign to define yourself, your opponent, as well as the key issues that are important in the race. Always set the tone early, encouraging your opponent(s) to respond.
Deliver a consistent, coherent message
This is one of the most important keys to winning a political campaign. The best way to make sure voters remember you and what you stand for is to develop a coherent message and remain consistent with it from the very start. Work with your campaign manager and team members to develop a strong, easy-to-understand message to use throughout the campaign. Then, make sure that everything your campaign does moving forward continuously reinforces that message.
Work hard and step outside ‘the zone’
Many first-time candidates who win tend to do so because they’re willing to put the hard work, sweat and effort into the job. They spend countless hours of each day making phone calls, knocking on doors, writing emails and letters, speaking in public, crafting position papers, and then waking up and doing it all over again the next day. Additionally, if you really want to win your election, you must be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Most seasoned politicians will tell you that after years of making fundraising calls, it eventually becomes second nature. However, during their first campaign, most admit being a little uncomfortable. Your first goal should be to get through the initial stage fright and hesitation, and then get on with speaking out about the issues you believe in.
Stay true to yourself
This is one of the key secrets to winning a political campaign. Even if you’re defending your position on a particular issue, remember that while the voters may not like what you stand for, they most certainly don’t like a candidate who changes their mind every time a poll comes out. Always be a candidate of integrity, explaining your stance and then simply and smartly moving on to the next issue.
At the end of the day, voters want a clear understanding of who you are as a person, and to know that you can be trusted to do a good job for them. As a candidate, your goals should be to gain their trust, help them develop a feel for what you stand for and get them to recognize your name.
Lincoln Strategy Group understands that winning an election can be hard work. It takes time, careful planning and extremely long hours. We have the experts and tools on hand to help clients streamline the process.