Running For Office In TennesseeJanuary 21, 2014 - Author: newscoma
Petitions are being pulled and if they haven’t been, then consideration is being given on whether the time is right to commit to running a campaign this election year. Some folks come right out of the gate while others wait until the last minute before deadline. Both methods are fine. Questions are being asked. Teams are forming behind candidates. Polls, if they are affordable which is not always the case in smaller house and senate races, are being bought and studied.
The big thing about deciding to run is pretty simple. Are you ready and do you have a plan?
John Jay Hooker said on the occasion of his 8oth birthday when he was honored on the floor of the Senate that one thing to know about him is he wasn’t afraid to lose. And he didn’t win the two times he ran for governor for a variety of reason but he also added something quite valuable for anyone running for office: you don’t always have to win to make a contribution. (The video is here and his statement starts about the 1:45 mark.)
I think that is important. It used to be that people would wait their turn to run for office. Those days are over as we live in a new world order when it comes to modern politics. There are no “annointed ones” anymore waiting their time to serve.
You are going to need money and call time is crucial in the early days of getting those financial commitments. Can you do that on your own or do you need help? It’s something anyone running for office needs to think about. (A guide/series that is quite helpful for anyone thinking about throwing their name into the mix was written last year by Joe Lance of Chattanooga. Go grab a cup of java and read every word he has written. It’s thought-compelling stuff.)
If you aren’t ready to run for elected office, and some people aren’t because God knows a person has to be in it for the long haul, there are other things that can be done. Run for executive committee for the Party because the more people that run gives interest to a race that isn’t going to cost you very much and that will teach you the ins and outs of running a campaign. (Just a little food for thought.)
Just a couple of things:
1. You can’t do it all by yourself. You are going to need support staff. When you are doing call time remember, your campaign is only as good as its weakest link. Make sure each one of your staff members is ready and you ARE going to need staff. Can you afford a couple of folks that will make your transition from call time to candidate seamless and that will take care of you because you are going to need that. It’s important. Once again you can’t do it all by yourself and trust is very important as it is not their name on the ballot, it’s yours. You might also want to ask yourself, is your campaign team in it for the paycheck or do they believe in you. The answer, quite frankly, is usually both because folks have to eat but if they believe in your message they will work harder for you during the election year.
2. Give a clear and concise example to voters on why you are the best person to serve in that district and for pete’s sake don’t talk at people, talk to them and listen. Your message matrix needs to be on topic. And keep your stump speeches short. One big problem that happens during campaign/speech season is that people want to be able to have a sense of who you are and what you can do. They don’t want a monologue that rivals Othello’s and leaves them without a clear message.
3. Talk to people that have worked campaigns before, and even if you can’t hire them full-time because money is everything these days, it’s worth your time to get honest and clear feedback from a professional who knows the ropes. It’s even worth a limited, hourly consulting fee if you have it to talk to someone who has had some skin in the game.
4. Don’t be a robot in your social media if you are doing it yourself. Be a person that folks want to know. A good example is Gloria Johnson, Andy Berke or even Cory Booker on a national scale for that matter. And be sure to interact with your followers. Keep your personal message flowing that you control or I can guarantee that someone else will hijack what your matrix is. You don’t want that.
5. National issues will come up but don’t go down that rabbit hole. Plants closing in your area, talk about that. Is your hospital closing due to the lack of Medicaid expansion? Talk about that. Unemployment going through the roof in your district? Talk about that! Talking about Chris Christie when you only have about 15 minutes will eat up your time and accomplish nothing except helping/hurting a governor who is a day and a half drive from Tennessee.
Those are just a few things on my mind. Right now is the time candidates (especially the new ones I’m thinking about) begin the journey to elected office. Running the race is just as important as getting to the finish line. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Comments are closed - Categories: Tennessee