There are a number of reasons people run for local office. Some run because they are inspired by a desire to contribute to their communities. Others are motivated by dissatisfaction with an incumbent, believing they could do a better job. Some are recruited by well-intended friends, neighbors or colleagues. Then there are those who area drive to seek office for a single burning issue.
Whatever the reason, potential candidates are advised to carefully appraise both themselves and the political climate they would enter.
Personal strengths and weaknesses: Why run for this particular office? What is your families attitude toward your candidacy? Is your self-confidence strong enough to take public and/or personal criticism? To what extent are you prepared to work on a broad range of topics and issues?
The Office: Is this the correct office for you to fun for? What fundamental rewards does the office offer? Does this office have the potential to influence the kinds of changes you want to see? What time commitment will be necessary if you are elected?
The Campaign: How many days are there until Election Day? How much time will you have to campaign? How much time can your core supporters give? What are the fundraising traditions in the community? How much money will I need? What are the potential sources of contributions?
The Opposition: How many opponents are there likely to be? Is the incumbent running? What are the personal and political strengths/weaknesses of each candidate? Have any of the opponents made a previous race and what were their campaign tactics?
Legal Requirements: What are the applicable election laws? (For example: filing, finance, legal deadlines, dates)
Opinion Influencers: What local issues have provoked local debate or citizen reaction lately? What issues surround this particular office? What other races or issues will be on the ballot? Who really influences decisions in the community? What are the influential organizations? What are the community media outlets?
Conflict of Interest: Do you have a financial conflict of interest? Are you willing to give up revenue that you may otherwise earn from selling products/services to the city/county/school?
If your appraisal leads to a decision to run for office, the process you’ve considered will provide the basis for your campaign plan.
If you decide not to run, there are a lot of other ways to get involved:
- Find a great candidate and help them get elected
- Get involved in a local government committee or commission
- Make a campaign contribution
- Get involved in a political party
- Get informed on the issues. Share your thoughts and feelings withe the candidates for office – AND your local elected officials
Use the Minnesota Polling Place Finder to search for your polling place, districts in your precinct, and candidates on your ballot.
For additional information about Running for office, contact Brad Meier, President/CEO at 451-7970 or [email protected]